Gifted Hands – The Ben Carson Story (2009)
Dir. Thomas Carter
The true story of pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson who grew up in the ’60’s with very little to become the leading surgeon in his field. A true rags to riches tale that confirms that one can defy all odds through sheer hard work, discipline and faith.
Seemed to me like Gooding Jr., who portrays the older Carson in the narrative, has jumped on the band wagon of biopics along with Jamie Foxx, Joaquin Phoenix, etc. Although, to Gooding Jr.’s credit, he has downplayed his portrayal of Carson to show the man’s true integrity and persistence in life.
Very much a tele movie in style and format, it was interesting to compare such a dramatised approach to neurology after recently watching The English Surgeon documentary – which pretty much shows grit an’ all. It is strange how in TV land the approach to reinventing narratives is restricted to the most basic formulaic structures proven in motion picture history. Considering the smaller budgets and larger quantity of productions i would have thought tele producers would be seeking new and creative ways of telling stories rather than recycling the tried and true over and over again. Fear of the unknown and taking chances seems to be such a strong constraint on tele producers. It’s a damn shame. This story could’ve been told in such a more diverse, interesting manner.
However, if a light emotional crowd pleaser is what you are after – than this is the one for you. I am a firm believer that every film has it’s place and use – just like a smorgasbord gives you a variety of flavours and sensations to pick from so does the world of cinema.