The following review of Peaceful Warrior first
appeared in user comments on the Internet Movie
Database after Robert Tolz had been invited to a screening by
the Institute for Spiritual Entertainment - New York. The
movie opened in limited release on June 2 and will expand to other
cities over the coming months. Click
here for the film studio's schedule of openings closest to you. The
movie is based on the 1988 book Way
of the Peaceful Warrior by
Dan Millman previously reviewed by Seeds.
I was invited to a screening of Peaceful Warrior in NYC Thursday April 13, having just learned of this
film's existence a few days earlier.
I was looking forward to the film, but with some trepidation,
considering that prior attempts at communicating spiritually
oriented books or ideas had fallen short of my expectations, and
had fundamentally failed to convey to the audience a transforming
inner experience; witness What the Bleep, Siddhartha,
Little Buddha, and
Let me say this, simply and directly. They got it right this time,
and they did it in a way which could be embraced by crowds at the
multiplexes. By impressing the discovery of bona fide spiritual
truths on a recognizable sports template, the movie makers will be
carrying under-appreciated ideas and experiences to the masses. At
least I hope so! I actually woke up early the morning after seeing
this, with my mind full of things I might say in an exhaustive
review. Never in my life have I felt that way about a movie
The reason this movie succeeds is that it follows one of the most
basic rules for good story-telling: it shows rather than tells.
Although some fundamental spiritual ideas are described with
words, it is the plot and character development that prove the
truth of those words. You see the transcendence and the
realizations in the faces of the characters, and you are not left
to wonder why. You understand.
The story, based on a book by Dan Millman, follows a college
gymnast who has great potential but whose desire for success is
one of the main obstacles standing in the way of that potential.
In his mindless pursuit of a goal, he becomes sucked into the deep
dark hole of life-is-what-happens-while-you're-making-other-plans.
In its simplest message, our hero's real challenge is to find
happiness by being present and finding interest and love for
what's right in front of him.
The film doesn't try to oversimplify the content of a spiritual
path into a single dogma; there are many other seeds of thought
strewn along the path by Socrates, each of which could have been
the basis for a different struggle to transcend relative
For many years I have been convinced that non-religious spiritual
thought and experience could be something to drive the world in a
new direction. This movie provides an example of what life can be
like if we ponder these thoughts and implement them in our lives
in a concrete and practical way. It's not necessary to be a
champion gymnast to derive the fundamental teachings from this
film. It is a teaching that anyone can understand. This is why I
see that Peaceful Warrior
can inspire those who embrace the possibilities which it offers to
become peaceful guerrilla warriors, working tirelessly underneath
the radar, changing the world.
This is not only a good movie, it's an important one.