“What The Bleep Do We Know” 2005 Pop Science Movie Review #pseudoscience

Hey folks! I’ve got a quick movie review for you, and the actual link to the movie as well. “What the Bleep Do We Know” is a ‘pop science’ movie that spans the issues of consciousness, quantum physics, mindfulness, religion, biochemistry, addiction, well, you name it – they’ve got it.

There is certainly good, bad and ugly about the movie, but it is not as clear-cut as if you’d look up the rating on Rotten Tomatoes (which is 34% by the way) or IMDb (5.4/10).

Why Should You Watch It?

Here’s my opinion on why you should consider watching it:

  1. You are a science fiction writer and looking for some quirky science premises (which is, in my opinion, the best reason to watch it, and that is exactly why I spent almost 2 hours of my life on it).
  2. You might be the kind of person whose interests span many esoteric areas and you enjoy pondering bigger than life questions.
  3. You’d like to practice in critical thinking: separating weeds from crops in the world of quasi-science ideas. That’s a good reason, because there are certainly a lot of weeds in this movie.
  4. Oh, got another one. If you happen to be a new age spiritualist or follower of Ramtha, the 35,000-year-old Lemurian warrior, then, by all means, watch it, because it’s just your cup of  tea.

Why Should You Not Watch It?

There is a number of things, which this movie will not accomplish for you:

  1. If you need tutoring in quantum mechanics, don’t watch it. You’ll fail your test.
  2. If you are looking for answers to your existential questions, including, but not limited to, ‘Is there God?’, ‘What are the deepest mysteries of the universe?, ‘How to get rich and famous?’ and such. Don’t bother. Really.
  3. If you are an impressionable type on serious medication, exercise caution, because [spoiler] by the end of the movie, the main character Amanda tosses her prescription medication as a result of, the best I can put it, ‘spiritual awakening’. Bad idea. Check with your doctor  first.

Plot

What I liked about it, that for a science movie, it is funny. It is a combination of documentary-style interviews of numerous scientists  and an actual movie subplot, that follows Amanda, a photographer in a middle of a life crisis.

Cast

For a documentary, I thought the actor’s cast was quite good. Here are my favorite actors:

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An academy award winning Marlee Matlin was great, and the movie gets a huge ‘thumbs up’ from me for casting a person with a disability without an apparent plot reason. The plot of this movie in no way called for a person with a hearing impairment, and that is why it is so cool that they chose Marlee, who actually almost redeems the movie for all the poor qualities it has.

A huge surprise for me was Armin Shimerman, despite the fact that he literally had two lines. But how he delivered them! Known to most of us as Quark (and other smaller characters) on Star Trek franchise, this actor is certainly more versatile than he is pegged, so I was rooting for this casting choice.

A show-steeler performance was delivered by Robert Bailey Jr. I’ll be looking for him in the future. I am curious what he’d done with his career for the past ten years, because, I tell you, he’s got it.

Experts

There is the list of  ‘experts’, who are interviewed for the ‘documentary’ part. I think it is important to look at the list carefully to understand who is saying what, and what ‘biases’ are in the mix.  And when I say biases, this movie got it handful. Suffice to say, that the movie created quite an academic backlash, which I will not go into  much detail, but, let’s just put it this way: the authors on numerous occasions stretch the scientific claims, and, sometimes, by a lot.

The whole movie I wondered, who is this annoying older blonde woman among the ‘experts’, because her claims were quite outlandish. One that comes to mind is that we developed anti-gravity engines (what did I miss? Because, hey, if so, we just solved the problem of escape velocity for the rockets launched from Earth). At the end, her name popped up. It read: ‘Ramtha, from School of Enlightenment…’. I thought that was weird, but when I further read  ‘…channeled by JZ Knight’, I was like, oh, that explains everything.

Other than that, there are a lot of seemingly credible scientists involved. You will see all of them at the end of the movie, so please, treat yourself to pay attention.

Conclusion

Overal, if you know why you are watching this movie, you know what you are getting into. In a quirky way, it is kind of inspirational. For a moment I felt like I can write bestsellers in a week. Maybe a little confidence is not a bad thing, as long as you don’t fall for a version of a ‘prosperity doctrine’ that undermines the hardship experiences of less fortunate people. You can’t just assume that they can all get jobs, become healthy and successful with just a power of a positive thinking.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share your thoughts in comments.

E.M.

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