6.4/10
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7 user

Choices of the Heart (1983)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 5 December 1983
The film tells the story of a young missionary girl from the United States who was killed in 1980 in El Salvador together with two other missionaries.

Director:

Joseph Sargent

Writer:

John Pielmeier
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Melissa Gilbert ... Jean Donovan
Peter Horton ... Doug
Helen Hunt ... Cathy
Mary McCusker ... Sister Maura Clarke
Mari Gorman ... Sister Ita Ford
Pamela Bellwood ... Sister Dorothy Kazel
Patrick Cassidy ... Patrick
René Enríquez ... Archbishop Romero
Mike Farrell ... Ambassador Robert E. White
Martin Sheen ... Father Philan
Demián Bichir ... Armando (as Demian Bichir)
Enrique Lucero ... Colonel Rojas
Delores Devine Delores Devine ... Gwen (as Dolores Devine)
George Belanger George Belanger ... Father Rich
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ken Grant Ken Grant ... Brother - Donovan
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Storyline

The film tells the story of a young missionary girl from the United States who was killed in 1980 in El Salvador together with two other missionaries. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on true story | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | Mexico

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In December the Roses Will Bloom Again See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Fails to communicate the important facts
1 January 2005 | by hiberniumSee all my reviews

I was shown this movie in class during high school. It struck me then as well- intentioned but rather spineless, and new information released about the 1980 murder of four churchwomen during the ensuing years have only confirmed that impression.

The three nuns and the lay worker were only four of the tens of thousands that ultimately perished during El Salvador's 12-year civil conflict. They were repeatedly raped then murdered by Salvadoran soldiers, and the ensuing evasions and cover-up by both San Salvador and Washington were justified (and continues to be by many) in the name of holding the line against Communism. Evidence collected after the signing of the 1992 peace treaty has revealed that the killing of the women was not a matter of rogue soldiers on a rampage as the two governments long insisted, but was ordered by the Salvadoran military.

However, because the political backdrop is not well-drawn in this film, the viewer is likely to come away with any number of wrong impressions. In fact, an earlier user review of this film states that the women were killed for being Americans. This of course is utterly inaccurate. El Salvador's ruling junta was enjoying massive aid packages, not to mention weapons and military training, from the U.S.

The women were killed because they were associated with the Catholic liberation theology exemplified by Archbishop Oscar Romero (in fact, the lay worker Jean Donovan served as one of his pallbearers). By 1980, the Salvadoran military was increasingly enamoured of the idea that every poor, rural civilian was a potential guerrilla, and should simply be "cleaned up". While most religious activists like Romero and Jean Donovan made it clear that they also condemned violence by left-wing guerrillas, their vocal and material support for civilians caught in the crossfire made them military targets in the eyes of the junta.

"Choices of the Heart" claims to portray actual events, and as such, has certain responsibilities. In shying away from placing the murders within the context of the catastrophic Carter-Reagan policy in El Salvador, the film fails miserably in these responsibilities. The lives of these women cannot be honored unless we are willing to take a hard, honest look at why they died.


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