Just what does it mean to forgive those who have done you wrong? And is it a good idea? We’ll cop to rolling our eyes a few times during this doc. Come on: Can making a “forgiveness quilt” really do any good? And making kids put on “forgiveness glasses” (relax–it’s just a pair of plastic sunglasses) that let them see their tormentors in a new way seems silly. It all sounds a little too much like a Unitarian weekend retreat to us.
But for all the earnest liberal preachiness (preached gently; this ain’t no Bible-thumper), Forgiveness actually makes you think seriously about a topic to which you probably haven’t given much thought. Doblmeier starts, safely enough for an American audience, with Northern Ireland, but he soon turns to 9/11, talking to three relatives of World Trade Center victims who want a garden of forgiveness established on the site. Ironically, the object of their anger these days is the U.S. government, which hauled away the rubble (and some human remains) to a landfill.
There’s an interesting detour into the physiology of forgiveness, which has been the subject of a lot of scientific study lately (who knew?). It turns out that forgiveness is good for your blood pressure. Those who forgive are a calmer lot. They’d like the soothing tones of this doc.