Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

I Love Dick

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

I Love Dick

Article excerpt

I chose to review I Love Dick because it looked like a film about a religious "cult." Stereotypically, such films show some charismatic guru attracting a group of followers and exploiting them for his or her own purposes. The representation of New Religious Movements, often called religious cults, is an interesting topic within religion and film studies for what it tells us about how we see such movement, but also for what they tell us about religion and its representation more broadly considered. But, I Love Dick turned out to be an unusual representation of such religious movements. Dick Jarrett is a famous artist who runs an Institute for artists and scholars in Marfa, Texas. He is charismatic, but he has no interest in exploiting those who follow him. Most NRM leaders are depicted as the smarmy type and it is easy for the audience to see how they exploit their followers. But, Dick Jarret is not smarmy and does not exploit those who make him their guru. As a result, this is a tricky role to play, and Kevin Bacon is superb in the role.

I Love Dick is a comedy and a hilarious one at that. But it has a serious side as well. The women of the Institute, led by indie filmmaker, Chris Kraus (played wonderfully by Kathryn Hahn), all seem to fall in love with Dick. Chris begins by writing Dick a love letter (several letters, actually). She is followed by the other women of the Institute, and through those letters to Dick, they learn a good deal about themselves. …

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