Title: What The Bleep Do We Know!?
Starring: Marlee Matlin, Elaine Hendrix
Director: William Arntz, Betsy Chasse
Media: DVD (double sided with special features)
Produced by: Twentieth Century Fox, 2004
What The Bleep Do We Know!? has already been talked about. TIME Magazine called it a “sleeper hit.” Patricia F. Hare’s Consciousness Commentary highlighted it years ago. Several other notables have used words like “compelling” and “absorbing” to describe it.
So I realized I had to see it.
Early in the film a divorced photographer, Amanda (Marlee Matlin), begins to see herself in double, actually triple, and we suddenly realize we’re in for a subatomic joyride reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
While Alice satirizes Victorian society, What the Bleep!? targets organized religion, God as wholly other, the anticipation of heaven and fear of hell, along with more issues bound to irk some and delight others.
The film’s dominant theme is about creating your own reality through focused intent and increased knowledge while forgetting the old, allegedly oppressive ideas of providence and belief.
We hear a lot in the film about paradigms and, especially, enlarging existing paradigms. Yet ironically the familiar “old and fat are out, young and thin are in” bigotry runs throughout.
This might be the film’s biggest flaw. Aside from that, What The Bleep!? provides a visually rich account of human neurology in relation to memory, thought, emotion, behavior and sexual arousal. Its complicated science is made simple with excellent commentary and above average graphics.
Some viewers might be offended by the use of coarse language. But I felt it was kept in balance and made the film convincing, especially when coming from a person like Matlin who obviously has her heart in the right place.
What the Bleep!? is a bit slow in places (I would have edited the wedding scenes) but on the whole Matlin and several others make this more than just another new physics, gee whiz documentary feature. As the film indicates, it’s not about agreeing with everything; it’s more about thinking.
And surely we need more of that.