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For the Love of Spock
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that For the Love of Spock is a documentary about actor Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Mr. Spock on TV's Star Trek and in several movies. Directed by Nimoy's son, Adam, the movie was begun before Nimoy's death in 2015 and later finished thanks to a Kickstarter fund. It includes some not-so-pretty details about Nimoy's life, including references to a divorce and a drinking problem, in addition to Adam's own drug problem. There are a few mildly violent and sexy images from Star Trek -- mostly fighting and kissing, plus a reference to Kirk sleeping with alien women. Nimoy's photographs of naked women are shown, but they're posed tastefully, with nothing graphic shown. Two interviewees use "f--k"; "ass" and "damn" are also used, and a middle-finger gesture is shown in a clip from one of the Star Trek movies. Aside from that occasionally iffy material, the documentary is thoughtful and loving and should appeal to all Trek fans in their teens and up.
What's the story?
FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK is a loving look back at the career of actor Leonard Nimoy, specifically the impact of his Star Trek character, Mr. Spock. Nimoy began by taking small acting jobs; then, in 1966, the role of a lifetime came along. As he grew famous, he began working toward providing for his family, assuming that the end would eventually come. But that same work took him away from his family, and rifts appeared between him and his wife, daughter, and son. Nimoy's career took many turns: He worked on the stage, wrote books, recorded music, directed movies, took photographs, and finally, returned to Spock in the 2009 Star Trek reboot. Near that time, he also learned just how important his family was. He died in 2015, leaving behind a legacy of love.
Is it any good?
Adam Nimoy directed this basic but very loving tribute to his father, daring to get a little more personal and a little less reverential than the average Star Trek fan might have. For the Love of Spock uses all the typical documentary techniques, including clips from movies and TV shows, photos, advertising materials, vintage interviews, speaking engagements, and recordings. There are also new interviews; the younger Nimoy began interviewing his father for this film before he died, so there's plenty of fresh material.
Some of this is quite moving, including the way the film charts the downs as well as the ups of Adam and Leonard's father-son relationship. But where the film really takes off is when the younger Nimoy's interviews with those who knew his father become a little more unguarded and personal. Clearly, Leonard Nimoy affected these folks strongly, and the sting of his death was still fresh when they we interviews were recorded, so their words are truly heartfelt and passionate. In the end, Nimoy's longtime friend and co-star William Shanter describes him in one word: "love."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about For the Love of Spock's descriptions/depictions of alcohol and drug use and abuse. How does Leonard Nimoy describe his drinking? How did he deal with it? What about Adam Nimoy's drug use? What can viewers learn from their experiences?
What kinds of things does the movie teach about the craft of acting? The business of acting?
How have people been influenced in a positive way by Spock/Star Trek? Does that make Leonard Nimoy a role model?
How does this documentary's approach differ from To Be Takei, which is also about a Star Trek veteran? What advantages and disadvantages does the movie have, given that it's a son telling his father's story?
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