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Film / A Mighty Heart

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A Mighty Heart is a 2007 film adapatation of Marianne Pearl's memoir of the same name, dealing with the kidnapping and beheading of her journalist husband, Daniel Pearl, by terrorists in Karachi, Pakistan in 2002.

The film was directed by Michael Winterbottom, produced by Brad Pitt, and starred Angelina Jolie as Marianne Pearl, with Dan Futterman playing Daniel. It screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival, and although not a financial success, was well-received critically.

Given the major coverage of the story in the media, Daniel Pearl's death is a very tragic real-life example of It Was His Sled.

The film contains examples of:

  • Based on a True Story
  • Bittersweet Ending
  • Brownface: When caucasian Angelina Jolie was cast as the mixed-race Marianne Pearl, many accused the filmmakers of race lifting, and some felt it akin to a blackface performance. This is despite Marianne Pearl having personally chosen Angelina Jolie for the role, going on record to state that she approved of her.
    "I have heard some criticism about her casting, but it is not about the color of your skin. It is about who you are. I asked her to play the role—even though she is way more beautiful than I am—because I felt a real kinship to her. She put her whole heart into it, and I think she understood why we should do this movie. We had something to say that we knew we should say together."
    - Marianne Pearl (the real one)
    • Or as Ms. Jolie put it herself:
      "If you did actually want to find somebody that was her exact makeup, she's actually majority Dutch, and she's as black as she is Chinese, and she's Cuban, and she's French."
  • Determinator: Marianne Pearl certainly comes off as an emotional determinator, especially when it comes to forcing herself to watch Daniel's execution tape.
  • Eagleland: While the film is fairly apolitical, it does still show a scene of two slightly #2-flavoured FBI agents clearing a room full of people to take a call, rather than, y'know, stepping outside for a moment.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Anyone familiar with the real story knows that Danny is not going to survive, no matter how much is done to save him.
  • Howl of Sorrow: One of the most heartbreaking committed to film. Angelina Jolie is very good at delivering these when needed.
  • Off with His Head!: How Danny is executed.
  • Oscar Bait: Surprisingly averted. While many critics hailed Jolie's performance, the film was only nominated for one Golden Globe and a handful of smaller awards.