Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (2009)
The Inspiring Carson Family
I believe we are all capable of performing miracles - Ben Carson
Do you know who Ben Carson is? I will be honest and say I had never heard of him and I am sure I am not alone but his story and in truth the story of his family is an inspiring one. You see Ben Carson was before retirement a leading neurosurgeon whose pioneering work lead to the separation of conjoined twins joined at the head. But his story starts long before that and it is his story starting in 1961 which is the focus of "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story".
"Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" opens in 1986 as Ben is asked to fly to West Germany where he is asked to consider operating on conjoined twins joined at the head something which previously had never been done successfully. But the story then takes us back to 1961 where a young Benjamin is struggling in class where he is labelled as dumb and suffers from bouts of anger. What we watch is how through his mum's persistence Benjamin goes from being just a kid to a young inquisitive mind with a thirst for knowledge which leads to University and medical school. But at the same time we witness Benjamin's mum combat her own issues from suffering with depression to hiding her illiteracy.
I feel blessed because I have a love of made for TV movies and that means that whilst I have watched plenty of poor movies I have also watched some truly inspiring movies. "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" is one of those truly inspiring movies because whilst it tells the story of one man's life it is the fact his story of hard work and belief brings results is universal. Now that doesn't mean that the story of Ben Carson is uninteresting because it certainly is from seeing how he became inspired to learn as a young boy to the battles his mum faced with her own difficulties to the racial issues of the time. In fact for anyone interested in notable people this will be an interesting movie.
But as I said "Gifted Hands" has a universal appeal because it is such an inspiring story of a boy who fell in love with learning and went on to do great things thanks in part to the belief of his mother. It is thanks to director Thomas Carter that the inspiring side of the story works so well and it should be no surprise as it is the same Thomas Carter who directed "Coach Carter".
It is also thanks to the array of actors who play Benjamin over the years that this movie works starting with Jaishon Fisher as the 11 year old Benjamin whose face lights up as we see him go from being the class fool to the brightest kid in the room. Along the way Benjamin is played by Gus Hoffman, Jaishon Fisher and finally Cuba Gooding Jr. who delivers one of his finest and most sympathetic performances allowing the real Ben Carson's achievements speak for themselves rather than over acting.
Now I will just add this as "Gifted Hands" is an inspiring movie but also a powerful one with some scenes which are a little uncomfortable. To put it blunt scenes where we watch brain surgery being done is not for the squeamish and a scene featuring conjoined twins is powerful. As such if you want to let children watch this to inspire them I would suggest you do so sitting with them.
What this all boils down to is that "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" is not only a fantastic biopic about a great neurosurgeon but it is all a fantastic, inspiring movie which will motivate and move you.
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