The Charlotte Observer from Charlotte, North Carolina on January 20, 1984 · 34
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The Charlotte Observer from Charlotte, North Carolina · 34

Charlotte, North Carolina
Issue Date:
Friday, January 20, 1984
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I 4C THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER Friday January 20 1984 'Testament' at Park Terrace The citizens of fairy-tale Ham lin fretted about rats overrunning their village and never noticed the Pied Piper making off with their children That we fretting about the Russians and stockpiling nuclear weapons could easily make the same tragic irreversible error is the sobering point of "Testament" "Testament" teeters on the edge of being a beautifully crafted — therefore effective — exercise in morbidity After all many of us have imagined the horrible aftermath of nuclear warfare since our parents stocked civil defense shelters in the '50s (And the suspicion always lingers that the people who really need to see this kind of movie — the people planning our national defense strategies — don't Why frighten the rest of us into pulling the covers over our heads?) That "Testament" doesn't wallow in cheap sentimentality or grisly detail is a testament to the talents of first-time feature film director Lynne Littman her superb cast and screenwriter John Young Not for "Testament" the horrifying special effects of television's recent "The Day After" "Testament" — and this is a movie for which the utmost parental discretion is advised — deals with the infinitely more horrifying lingering deaths of a small-town family after nuclear bombs have been exploded on both coasts Based on Carol Amen's short story "The Last Testament" the movie is set in Hamlin Calif The opening scenes are cluttered with the sort of daily detail we can take for granted until our comfortable lives are disrupted Homemaker Carol Wetherly (Jane Alexander) fixes breakfast changes the sheets collects the laundry and hustles her children out the door to school The biggest concern of her husband Tom (William De Vane) on his way to work in San Francisco is his 18- minute personal best in that day's early-morning bicycle ride An ordinary family an ordinary life — until 4-year-old Scottie's (newcomer Lukas Haas) "Sesame Street" vanishes from the television screen Suddenly there's no electricity no noisy television no Daddy no San Francisco nothing east of Keokuk Iowa The child next door appears and asks if he can stay until his parents come home They never do of course but the boy is absorbed into Carol's family until in her words "he just curled into a ball and died" Blame for the bombs Is never assigned Ham-radio operator Henry Abhart (Leon Ames) Hamlin's only link with the outside world receives conflicting reports on who started what This though is precisely the movie's point: So many nations now have the capability to destroy the world that we have become our own worst enemy Alexander is being mentioned as a possible Oscar nominee for her heroic performance one that's no less passionate for its absence of hysteria Living an unspeakable nightmare from which there's no waking she suggests a resilient admirable core of humanity Any IL II TO K1kAtV 01 e vveyrixsra I 2:455:157:5010:10 IFNI GENERAL CINEMACHARLOTTETOWNr IlINDINDINDENCI KINGS Dita375-8411111 A LA Jo Ann Rhetts A REVIEW one who believes In justifiable nuclear war should watch and listen to Alexander explaining lovemaking to her 15-year-old daughter (Roxana Zal of television's "Something About Amelia") who won't live long enough to go to bed with a man Zal Haas and Ross Harris as the third Wetherly child Ulla Skala Rebecca De Mornay ("Risky Business") and Philip Anglim (Broadway's "Elephant Man") are all effective in small roles Kevin Costner the actor who played Alex in the flashback scene scissored from "The Big Chill" plays De Mornay's husband grieving for his dead baby girl Littman has won four Emmy Awards and the 1977 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short (for "Number Our Days" a study of a Venice Calif community of elderly Jews) She is married to Taylor Hackford director of "An Officer and a Gentleman" which may or may not prove tal EXACTLY WHA 'ROY tifiNKI CHRISTOPIIERPEORG Ai I IVRT EDMUND' URDOWINDeDA I Atibs CA NOW SHOWING PLEASE NOTE DIFFERENT SHOW TIMES Jane Alexander comforts her son in "Testament" ent grows in family bunches With backing from public television's American Playhouse series she made this movie for a piddling (in Hollywood terms) $750000 IF YOU'RE GOING "Testament" is playing at Park Terrace at 1:15 daily and 945 pm Wednesday Tickets are $3 (general admission) and $225 (ages 14 and under 65 and over) Subscription tickets are still available at S20 for the 13-film Park Terrace independent and foreign film serlos PARENTS' GUIDE: "Testament" is rated PG for profanity implicit sexual activity and most importantly for its extremely adult treatment of devastating subject matter 11Pq-Z-4 CHECK oar mCINEZ111 INDIVIDUAL tffilla UMW MALL THEATRE ADS IlliatAL at SHARON mimil DAILY FOR 568-0408 SHOW TIMES JOHN TRAVOLIA OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN tn1111610 (1E13 FE1A" TENTIEIH CENTufiv i01 tr MEM PARK " t5T5HWY 5 MRKI511 CINEMA a PARK RV? e5151iIWY 51 I INOVINDENCI AVM A IASTWAY DI 3 GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS BEST ACTOR - BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR BEST ORIGINAL SCORE He was Tony Montana The world will remember him by another nameSCARFACE AL PACINO SCARFACE A UNIVERSAL PICTURE sn-1234 171 GaPritea ER1 L NOW CHECK INDIVIDUAL ADS FOR TIMES REIM WO 08No4n44 5PMILLW 1 2:304:256:208:1510:10 PEW aeNenaCcoNemaaint EASTIANDIMALV at SHARON MII Use these coupons one at a time or all at once Either way you'll get tour delicious meals 00 00 $600 about making erican COMRE ING ENTERTAINMENT It make you gel good RfliramistaiabRffi movi at 1KroU 'EIA'SNITEK MAGAZINE V40 "Meryl Streep is remarkable!" 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