THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH

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Language        
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Starring: Adrienne Shelly, Robert Burke
& Christopher Cooke

Genre: Comedy-Drama

Audience:

Rating: R

Runtime: 90 minutes

Distributor: Miramax Films

Director: Hal Hartley

Executive Producer:

Producer: Bruce Weiss & Hal Hartley

Writer: Hal Hartley

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Content:

Extremely numerous profanities and obscenities; but, no sex, nudity or violence

Summary:


Review:

On a deserted stretch of highway, Josh, a mysterious hitchhiker, returns to his Long Island home amidst a flurry of small-town gossip and speculation. Because he is dressed in black, everyone asks if he is a priest. "No, a mechanic," he replies.

It turns out that Josh learned how to fix cars in prison. What led to his conviction, nobody knows for sure. Though speculation covers some gruesome scenarios, all anyone knows for sure is that Josh was somehow involved in the death of a young woman and her father.

Enter Audrey, a nihilistic teenage beauty too young to remember Josh's dark past, but old enough to appreciate his good looks and kindred spirit. A job opportunity brings the two together, against the better judgment of Audrey's outspoken father, Vic, who becomes Josh's employer.

Impetuous, unpredictable and ambivalent about her future, Audrey stumbles into modeling and, in her free time, makes passes at Josh. Vic wants Josh as far away from his daughter as possible, so he strikes deals with them both so that they will stop seeing each other.

Even though Audrey and Josh are unhappy apart, Audrey refuses to back out of her agreement with her father. "People are only as good as the deals they make and keep," she tells him sadly. When her modeling career takes off and she moves into Manhattan, Vic changes his mind and sends Josh to bring her back. After a series of confused encounters, everyone converges on Josh's house and discovers the "unbelievable" truth at last.

Written, directed, produced, and performed by native Long Islanders, THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH entertains and instructs. It is artistically shot, but the quality of acting is inconsistent, the dialogue too rapid in parts, and some lines are thrown away. The film also seems to want the R rating, as it is laced with an extreme number of obscenities and profanities.

Woven throughout is the way in which people's emotional lives can come to resemble business transactions. What happens when people start using the mechanics of deal making and commerce in their personal lives? They become less human.

While Audrey sees the emptiness in worldly things, Josh is a symbol of freedom for her -- freedom from the restraints of suburban conformity where everyone seems to be intellectually and morally dozing. At one point, she talks about becoming a carpenter: "Jesus was a carpenter. He was a radical. I like radicals!"

Yes, Audrey. Jesus was a radical: a radical redeemer. The point THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH misses is that in Him will you find freedom, for "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).

Now, that is truth worth believing!

In Brief: