Standing alone as a Mid-east regional and political educational experience, Plains is ultimately a look what's right and wrong in this country, including how quick we are to condemn and to judge. People constantly reject Carter's book based on preconceived prejudices - despite the fact that half of them haven't even read it. Brings to mind the picket lines for so called anti-Christian movies where, through hearsay, Zealots take their stand on empty soap-boxes preaching loudly the evils of something they've never seen. Carter handles his opponents in the film with grace, paradoxically setting them up through his own honesty and knowledge. In a revealing segment, Carter remarks "wow-he was absolutely obnoxious" after being interviewed over the phone by someone who doesn't share his viewpoint. Although, I'd have to say my favorite scene was Carter sleeping on a plane while his gigantic security guard reads his book.
Carter had several pioneering ideas and initiatives during his tenure in the White House. His Camp David Middle east peace talks were a milestone, his energy saving plans were ahead of their time. But even winning the Nobel Peace Prize can't save his total disgust for how New Orleans has been abandoned while he is down there with Habitat For Humanity building homes.
You get the mini-biography in the ending credits, cutting back and forth between places and dates when Carter did plain nice, as well as miraculous, things. His kind heart and vision might not change the world, but it does spark debate. Talking with mankind about strong beliefs is pro-active, not counter productive. It seems that getting people to think puts that gleam in Carter's eye.
Written and directed by Jonathan Demme, Rated PG