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Have a hug. Read Atlas Shrugged.

Atlas Shrugged: The chain by which he holds us all in bondage

Lillian Rearden receives gift of bracelet made from first pour of Rearden Metal.

Henry/Hank Rearden’s brother asks for money.

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  1. I love this! If this is the quality of the whole movie, then it will be far better than I dared to hope.

    The tone is right, the acting is spot on, the characters are beautifully cast, and the nature of Hank’s family as contrasted with Hank’s nature is brilliantly portrayed.

    It is so clear in this scene that Hank Rearden is a man who loves his work, who is trying to share this important part of his life with his wife by giving her a gift made from the first pouring of his invention, and that she completely disvalues this wonderful gift and all it stands for.

    The actress has the physical beauty and glamour of someone who *could* be an Ayn Rand heroine, if only she had the soul of one, so it is not hard to imagine that she could have attracted Rearden and fooled him in the beginning by playing up to his values. Philip (Rearden’s brother) is as ungrateful and revoltingly contemptuous a self-righteous moocher as he’s meant to be.

    The mother is clueless and small of soul. None of them recognize or value Hank. None of them give him even a fraction of the love and admiration that he deserves.

    And everything in the scene shows Readen’s supreme decency as well as – and this is the most important point – his flaw: the sanction of the victim.

    That is the concept that this scene is meant to illustrate, and it does the job beautifully.

    This may be a low budget movie, but this scene does not come across as low budget. Neither does it reveal a lack of understanding on the part of the screenwriter or director or the actors.

    When I heard the circumstances under which this movie was being made, I was very worried. In fact, I’ve been worried about ANY movie version of Atlas Shrugged, afraid it would be twisted and heart-breaking. But if the quality of this scene is representative of the quality of the whole movie, I’m going to be very happy.

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    Moderator: Some typos fixed. Extra paragraph breaks added.
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  2. I do want to criticize a detail in the scene: the bracelet in the book is an actual chain, and Reardon Metal is supposed to be blue-green. The bracelet in the scene is dark grey and looks more like an abstract railroad track than a chain. But the image of being chained – both with Lillian in this scene and later, when Dagney owns it and wears it – is a metaphor that, in my opinion, is less effective if the bracelet looks more like a regular bracelet than a chain.

    This bugs me, but I got past it fast because the scene was so strong in its other aspects.

    Ayn Rand made all her choices for a reason, and unless there is a specific reason why some bit in the novel does not translate well on screen or can’t be done on the budget, I think such details are best kept as Rand wrote them. (Although the blue-green metal – I can’t think of any metaphorical reason for that color. Rand may have chosen that only because it was her favorite color, which means the color doesn’t have a literary function in the story.)

    However, such details as the chain image only *enhance* the meaning or emotional currents of a story. They are not essential to telling the story nor should the loss of a few such details ruin the power and the impact of the story. Annoying to fans who know the book and the reasons for the details, yes, but truly destructive, no.

    Unless, of course, there are too many truly *stupid* and seemingly senseless detail changes that a die-hard fan just can’t swallow. Now, that *could* destroy a person’s enjoyment, even if the story’s meaning and power remain intact.

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