Plain Talk

Jimmy Carter was president before I was born. I’ve known him only as an elderly philanthropist — traveling the world with wife Rosalynn, building houses for Habitat for Humanity — and, more recently, as a man who caught a lot of heat over a controversial book about Palestine.

That was before I watched Jimmy Carter Man From Plains. The documentary from director Jonathan Demme — of Philadelphia and Silence of the Lambs acclaim — opens exclusively today at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli. It follows Carter on last year’s book tour for Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, during which he was accused of being an anti-Semite and a liar for his ideas on how to bring peace to the Middle East.

Whether you agree with Carter or not — and many people don’t — it’s hard to watch this film and not be moved. That’s because Jimmy Carter is the kind of leader and politician — the kind of human being — that my generation has seldom (if ever) seen. With old video footage and retellings, Demme takes us inside the 1978 Camp David Accords, when Carter literally went back and forth between the leaders of Egypt and Israel — who couldn’t stand to be in the same room together — late into the night for thirteen days until they negotiated peace. Today Carter lives in a modest home, still reads the Bible aloud every night before bed and is often moved to tears by a memory or a kind word. He travels the country tirelessly to promote his book, because he believes so strongly in its message.

The movie is guaranteed to make you feel guilty about your own laziness and pessimism — and maybe that’s a good thing.

Showtimes are 2:20, 4:40, 7:10 and 9:25 p.m. daily through January 3, and tickets are $5.75 to $8.75. For more information, visit or call 303-595-3456.
Dec. 28-Jan. 3, 2007

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Jessica Centers