American Greatness at the Movies

Reviewing the movie “Little Pink House” for the New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis wrote the film “succeeds neither narratively nor visually.” So, there you have it. The Times has spoken: you don’t want to see it.

Then again, maybe you do. After all, the Times is ground zero for political correctness. A positive review of this movie in the Times is about as likely as the Times editorial board championing the Tea Party movement back in the day.

“Little Pink House” tells the story of Kelo v. City of New London. My wife and I saw it this weekend, and she encouraged me to give you a friendly heads-up about our experience. Though we were keenly aware of the hideous outcome for Susette Kelo because we followed the Supreme Court’s terrible decision in 2005, we were so caught up in the action of the film that our spirits lifted during the scene when Kelo got the news the Court had put her case on its docket.

But of course, as we know, the justices did not serve justice. What the Court served up instead of justice was “social justice.” It turns out that putting “social” before “justice” empties justice of its meaning—and “Little Pink House” makes that case in compelling human terms.

Catherine Keener plays Susette Kelo. Kelo only wants to keep her house. She seeks fair treatment by her city and eventually justice from the Supreme Court. Jeanne Tripplehorn plays the college president and political climber who leads the effort to evict Kelo and her neighbors and to tear down their homes in the name of social justice. Kelo reluctantly agrees to become the face of the fight to save the neighborhood. The Tripplehorn character is the face of the politicians and the bureaucrats who plot and maneuver against the homeowners. Both portrayals are outstanding.

In the film, the mayor of New London tells the homeowners their only chance to save their homes is to take the fight to the people. Have you ever had to fight city hall? This is how it plays out. You only have to fight city hall because you have found out they are planning to do something to you. You only have a chance if what they are planning affects your neighbors too, and if you and your neighbors can succeed in making a public issue of it.

In the film, government at every level, from the city council to the governor and finally to the Supreme Court, works together against the homeowners.

My wife and I were reminded of another brilliant film, “13 Hours.” (If you haven’t seen it yet, prepare to be dazzled.) Just as the narrative drive of “Little Pink House” prepares you for justice to be served in the end, “13 Hours” builds in you the urgent dramatic expectation that the cavalry will arrive with flags flying and bugles blowing just in time to save the heroic band of Americans in an impossible fight.

In both movies, it is the government that lets the Americans down. But American greatness is not missing. The Americans fighting injustice in “Little Pink House” and the Americans fighting the jihadis in “13 Hours” shine brightly. You will be inspired—and entertained.

It’s worth recalling that the Supreme Court was divided on Kelo by a vote of 5-4. John Paul Stevens—who recently wrote an editorial calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment in the New York Times—wrote the majority opinion. Stevens believes the government should be able to take your guns and your home. How astonishing that such a man could have sat on the Court, charged with upholding the Constitution! Joining Stevens in the Kelo decision were Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer. Dissenting were Sandra Day O’Connor, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas.

And here is what the New York Timeseditorial on Kelo had to say:

New London’s development plan may hurt a few small property owners, who will, in any case, be fully compensated. But many more residents are likely to benefit if the city can shore up its tax base and attract badly needed jobs.

So, the Times liked the decision (which did not reap the benefits the editors predicted) and did not like the movie. No surprises there. The Times is always reliably politically correct—and just as reliably wrong.

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