TCC Films: Dead Man Walking

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 “As your friend I want to help you die with dignity and I don’t see how you can do that unless you own up to the part you played in Walter and Hope’s death.”

Susan Sarandon won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Sister Helen Prejean in the 1995 true crime film Dead Man Walking, directed by Tim Robbins. Many consider Dead Man Walking to be the best movie about an American nun ever made. Sarandon’s character is strong, intelligent, holy and a force to be reckoned with. Robbins adapted the screenplay from Sr. Helen Prejean’s non-fiction book of the same name. Sr. Prejean works with prisoners on death row, their families, and the families of their victims. She founded Survive, an organization that counsels the families and victims of violence.  She is also the leading American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn (who plays the murderer and rapist Matthew Poncelet) give stunning performances in the film. What’s more, the movie is remarkable for telling both sides of the capital punishment story. The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty, but it is a challenging moral issue. Matthew Poncelet did evil things and destroyed lives, and yet he is a human being, whose execution will not restore the dead. The story of Poncelet’s family and the families of his victims give depth to the film. Dead Man Walking is rated R. Watch the trailer here: