It has been 21 years since my grandfather directed me to read Atlas Shrugged. It changed my life. I know that sounds cliche, but it is the truth, nonetheless. He died just after I graduated high school, not long after. I will never be able to thank him enough for getting that book into my hands.
Skip ahead 21 years: Years of re-reading Atlas fairly regularly, adding in more Rand, Mises and Hayek, getting “educated” and living life. I have children of my own now. None have read Atlas yet, but I am hoping that my oldest will pick it up soon. I have been Galt’s Girl all of his life. Surely, the curiosity will win him over soon. As Dagny said last night :” I would never force a man to do anything”.
When I heard that Atlas was finally going into theatrical production, I confess I wasn’t hopeful about a movie’s ability to incite the same fire and thought that the book does, but I was grateful that it was being done. The timing seems so perfect, so relevant, so … final. I have wondered over the last year how each detail in the book would be handled. Worried over what would be omitted to keep the attention of the ADD generation. I was right to be concerned, there is a lot to cover and a lot of it matters greatly to the character development.
I was thrilled to find out that I was in one of the original opening markets. I bought a ticket the moment they were available online. I showed up at the theater way too early. I was excited. It happens occasionally.
It is probably a good thing that I got there early. The theater was sold out and I managed to snag a great seat. It was interesting to watch people coming in and finding their seats. Many were as outwardly excited as I was. There was a lot of smiling, patting backs, and laughing over seat shifting. It really was a great crowd. The previews started and that is when it became an almost surreal experience.
I won’t go into the previews, but they seemed odd and silly. The crowd was SILENT. All I could hear between mundane previews was the occasional shake of a candy box or rustle of a popcorn bag. No one talked through the previews or shifted in their seat. I don’t even think many of us were breathing. Most of these people had been waiting as long as I had.
After an insane number of previews, the production logo appeared on a black screen. The man next to me, easily in his seventies, shed a couple of tears. He wasn’t the only one, I don’t think. He was whispering under his breath and I turned and smiled at him. He actually took my hand and squeezed. The last thing I remember is him saying “maybe now…” and the film began.
No details, no spoilers. I will say that there were a few omissions that I was sad for, and the film’s small budget was apparent, but overall I loved the movie. I believe that the female roles were superbly cast, that the actors in the film were passionate about the film they made, and that the crowd in the theater felt much the same way I did. I don’t think anyone left to get more popcorn or hit the bathrooms during the movie. Not a single cell phone rang (mine was turned off), and there wasn’t a single conversation. When it ended there was an ovation. I have never seen a movie that ended with the entire crowd clapping, most standing, and almost no one leaving.
It sounds so simple, but at the end of that movie, I think I knew everyone in that theater and nearly everyone I saw was BEAMING as I walked past. They stood in the hall and outside the theater talking afterwards. There was talk of drinks in some of the crowds. I bowed out.. came home… and tweeted. The only thing that could have made the experience better for me would be to have seen it with @TheTwisters .. or my father. I will do a Part 2 once the movie has played for most of those who will take the time to see it. Until then, let me leave you by saying .. go … see it… and take a friend who hasn’t read the book.
Government “help” to business is just as disastrous as government persecution… the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off. ~ Ayn Rand