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The Passion Of Ayn Rand [DVD]

3.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Helen Mirren, Eric Stoltz, Julie Delpy, Peter Fonda, Sybil Darrow
  • Directors: Christopher Menaul
  • Writers: Barbara Branden, Howard Korder, Mary Gallagher
  • Producers: Barry Krost, Doug Chapin, Irwin Meyer, Linda Curran Wexelblatt
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Orchid
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Jun. 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C88M2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,071 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Nathaniel (Eric Stoltz) and Barbara (Julie Delpy) are two college students who greatly admire the work of author Ayn Rand (Helen Mirren). Ayn is a woman who has a great influence on the people she meets due to her high intellect and all-consuming charm but she holds delusions of grandeur, always regarding herself as better than others. In the summer of 1949, Barbara and Nathaniel visit Ayn and her husband Frank (Peter Fonda) and the four quickly become close friends. Ayn manipulates their situation and pushes the young pair into a relationship leading to marriage. As the years pass the pressure grows on the couple's relationship and Nathaniel is drawn into an affair with Ayn when they begin a literary group together. Ayn justifies their infidelity with the belief that she and Nathaniel are superior and can therefore carry on their affair regardless of everyone else. Overspilling with uncontrolled emotions, her friends hurt and upset by her actions, Rand examines her idealised spirit to see where it leads her next, with the possibility of losing everything and everyone she has around her.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Despite the hagiographic-sounding title, this film is not a work in praise of the novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand. Instead, it is a biopic, based on a book of the same title, written by Barbara Branden, an erstwhile close friend and high-ranking follower of Rand.

Two attractive young students, Nathaniel Blumenthal (who later changes his name to Nathaniel Branden) and Barbara Weitman (Eric Stoltz and Julie Delpy), are invited, following an enthusiastic letter, to meet their idol, Ayn Rand, at the home she shares with her husband Frank O'Connor (heartbreakingly portrayed by Peter Fonda) in California. Both are passionate devotees of her ideas of Objectivism, reason and self-interest, and find a willing guru in Rand, played with grim charisma by Helen Mirren.

While Nathan is attracted to Barbara, her feelings for him are closer to friendship - but under pressure from Rand, who argues that emotion is always based on reason and that therefore the young couple's shared ideals make them a perfect sexual match, the two of them marry. Their unsuccessful marriage, already intimately destructive since Nathaniel has taken it upon himself to act as Barbara's psychotherapist as well as her husband, seeking to eradicate the 'faulty principles' that make her uncomfortable with the relationship, is worsened when Rand and Nathaniel begin an affair, insisting that their prospective partners accept this sexual relationship as the necessary consequence of their mental compatibility. The tensions between the characters play out against the rising cult of the Nathaniel Branden Institute and the success of Atlas Shrugged, leading to moral and emotional chaos under the guise of reason and idealism.
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Format: DVD
I first came across the name of Ayn Rand in an episode of Mad Men. It looked as though she was a significant influence on individuals and on the society in which they lived and live. Upon cursory investigation I see she wrote big books, this put me off reading further, a terrible reason for not reading a book but there were also dissonant forces disturbing my urge to know more.

Big words are far more worrying. Words that should only be utilized with very great care. Words which resonate with horror. Then I found this film about the author. A rental proposition of one hour forty minutes of my life. It was time well spent.

'The Passion of Ayn Rand' is directed with polish by Christopher Menaul. The cool jazz soundtrack never irritates and complements the mood swings in the narrative effectively. It is a TV movie and Helen Mirren commands her scenes with consummate ease, her characterisation of Rand not unlike Bette Davis in All About Eve with that cigarette holder, dark eyes and the power of articulate speech presiding over her gynaecocracy.

The story of neglecting relationships neatly embraces a philosophy of calculation without responsibility. `I give no one the power to hurt me' states Rand. This is intellectual barbarism. Computed principles, no regrets; laissez-faire. The film balances all the effects of her way of living and does, I believe, allow the audience to understand the viewpoint of the character called Ayn Rand. The delusions are clear. I remember her time was a time of full employment, of colossal Politics of extremes which were presented with catch-phrase simplicity as a substitute for understanding. A time after total war and the burden of victory which brought anything/anybody who was shiny bright new to the fore.
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Format: DVD
Towards the end of "The Passion of Ayn Rand" Eric Stoltz pretty much tells a stunned crowd of ardent "Objectivist" supporters a variation on "Do what we say and not necessarily what we do". And this pretty much is the crux of the argument lain bare in the feature film adaptation of Barbara Branden's biography of the famous philosopher and author. Don't expect to see a literal translation of the biography. The film focuses completely on Ayn Rand's relationship with Brandens and the scandal that ultimately rocked all their lives.

To those unfamiliar with philosophy or works of Ayn Rand (both which are pretty much inseparable), the film will do little to endear them to the philosopher. However, to those who have read Rand's works and seen or heard her interviews the brilliance of Helen Mirren's portrayal is excellent. It is not the kindest of interpretations, but perhaps this reaction comes from our still outmoded sexist notions of the "fairer sex". Rand was a dynamic, intelligent, inspirational and flawed person, and this exactly what you get with this unflinching dramatization.
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Format: Audio CD
I was disappointed with this film. I was thinking (or hoping) this film was going to be about the passion of knowledge, ideas, thinking, and any other form of mental stimulation; I really didn't think there was much of that in this film. Maybe I'm just odd in the way I dislike Hollywood's usual portrayal of passion: love affairs et cetera. Passion in this film was portrayed in the Hollywood sense. There was brief mentioning of thoughts, the mind, ideas, the individual, et al, but I felt they were only in idle chatter, and not what really mattered. Maybe all the "Hollywood passion" represented in this film turned me off, but I would have rather spent my time doing something other than watching this film.
Recently I had the pleasure of a watching a different documentary film about Miss Rand called "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life." And I think if you are looking for more details actually about her, her life, and her ideas, rather than love affairs which I thought were quite unpleasant within "The Passion of Ayn Rand," "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life" is the film I think you'll enjoy to watch and listen to instead.
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