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The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999)

The rather eccentric (especially in her thinking) author of "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" becomes involved with a much younger, and married man... to the dismay of those close to her.

Director:

Christopher Menaul

Writers:

Barbara Branden (book), Howard Korder (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen Mirren ... Ayn Rand
Eric Stoltz ... Nathaniel Branden
Julie Delpy ... Barbara Branden
Peter Fonda ... Frank O'Connor
Sybil Darrow ... Caroline (as Sybil Temchen)
Tom McCamus ... Richard
Don McKellar ... Alfred
David Ferry ... Interviewer
Donald Carrier Donald Carrier ... David
Hamish McEwan ... Henry
Elyssa Livergant Elyssa Livergant ... Naomi
Christopher Marren Christopher Marren ... Aaron (as Chris Marren)
Jennifer Gould Jennifer Gould ... Janet
Robert Thomas Robert Thomas ... Security Guard
John Lefebvre John Lefebvre ... Funeral Director
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Storyline

Upon the death of Ayn Rand, Barbara Branden recounts the story of her dealings with the enigmatic 20th-century philosopher and novelist. Barbara and her husband, Nathaniel Branden, meet Rand and her husband, Frank O'Connor, and immediately establish a rapport. Rand takes the youthful Nathaniel under her wing and begins to show an un-platonic interest in her protégé. Barbara must sit by as the two begin what becomes a long, tumultuous affair. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La pasión de Ayn Rand See more »

Filming Locations:

Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based upon Barbara Branden's book with the same title. See more »

Goofs

Alfred Tells Nathaniel about the new book Ayn Rand is working on, "Atlas Shrugged". The working title for that book was "The Strike". It didn't become "Atlas Shrugged" until in 1956 when Rand's husband suggested that title. See more »

Quotes

Caroline: I know I still care what other people think. I know I am guilty of social metaphysics. And I know my wish to correct my thinking comes from a desire to please Nathan, who I respect tremendously. And I know that that desire is very, very, very, very wrong.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 57th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Danube Waltz
Johann Strauss
Provided by Associated Production Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
the actors shine
10 July 2008 | by mukava991See all my reviews

This dramatization of about 17 years in the mid-life of novelist Ayn Rand focuses on her intimate relationship with one of her much younger disciples, one Nathaniel Blumenthal, who changed his last name to Branden (get it? – bRANDen) after establishing a platonic friendship with the author. Eventually the relationship evolved into a love affair with the full if resentful knowledge of their mutual spouses. Although the heart of the film is the love relationship we are also introduced to the social circle of the controversial Rand whose novels featured larger-than-life heroes whose glaring individuality and egoism pit them against the common mass, or "second handers" as Rand called them; she elevated personal selfishness to a high ethical principle, and revered the capitalist way of life. The film is set during the period when Rand was writing her last mammoth novel, ATLAS SHRUGGED, which she believed would rock the world and spark a revolution of human creativity and a rebirth of individualism and entrepreneurial, creative spirit. When it became a mere best seller she was shattered and in her demoralized state allowed the young Blumenthal to influence her next career move by founding the Objectivist movement which carried her message in the form of a periodic newsletter and public meetings. Through the device of capturing snatches of conversation at dinners and small meetings as well as question-and-answer sessions at public gatherings, the film takes the time to explore the mind-set of the Rand followers, including the ugly confrontations within the innermost circle as members are emotionally humiliated for not uttering the correct Objectivist formulations in deadly group meetings in Rand's smoke-filled living room. The cult atmosphere is well captured. But the "passion" here is heavily on the sexual-romantic side and lacking in the arena of philosophy. The makers of this film probably felt the TV audience wouldn't sit still for too much cerebral content so some may wonder why people felt so strongly about Rand that they would attach themselves to her the way her followers did.

But the real power in this TV movie comes across in the four central performances by Helen Mirren as Ayn Rand, Peter Fonda as her passive, dispirited, alcoholic husband, the always excellent Eric Stolz as "Branden" and Julie Delpy as his long-suffering wife. Each of these excellent actors has mastered the art of "less is more" in conveying depth of emotion with a minimum of hamminess and take the viewer inside the cult mentality. Rand could easily have been depicted as a monster but Mirren and the screenwriters take care to show us her vulnerable side. You have to admire her whether you agree with her or not. She was a tragic figure worth exploring. Her novels still sell in the hundreds of thousands of copies many decades after their initial release because there is a kernel of truth in what she wrote, something about the value of the individual and the beauty of reason. What she made of those truths is debatable.


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