The film is really good--you did yourself proud. It's fast, well-edited, full of good archival photos and film clips, with a very good portrait of G. as a cultural icon, a family man, an unhappy bisexual man, and a fountain of ideas. The interview bits were pointed and sharp, and Stoehr served as a good guide through his life. I was sorry to land on the proverbial cutting-room floor but I'm sure you had God's plenty to choose from, and I so much liked what you did use. You used his poetry exceptionally well, and Matthew's death was extremely moving, both in itself and in its impact on Paul. Those poems of grief and loss were some of his best."
"This is a film which brings Paul Goodman back into our lives with both his faults and his genius. His belief in a totally free sexual life was fine - except that it not infrequently butted, uninvited, into the lives of others. On the other hand, he was that rare anarchist who was not afraid of speaking directly with the "establishment" as if men of reason might communicate.
He was thoughtful, challenging, a man whose mind lived far beyond the "box" in which most of us bounce around. I'm grateful for this film. Some people have lives whose record is of interest, but Paul Goodman's life remains profoundly challenging, his life is absolutely contemporary and will remain so."
David McReynolds is, along with the late Barbara Deming, another radical pacifist and lesbian writer-activist, the subject of a book by the historian Martin Duberman: "A Saving Remnant: The Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds".
“What a superb film. I cannot remember a better documentary evocation of the life of a writer or thinker. Itʼs all there—every aspect of his life, with no sanitizing, no censoring, no trying to fit him into a preexisting heroic mold, as biographical films too often do. And such a nice mix of film, photos, music, voices. Obviously the work of some years.”
"The film is about a man who asked "What if our relationships, our ideas, our social structures, were based on imagination, on expansiveness, and not on limits? The guy's life blew my mind and filled me with this incredible mixture of hope, and sadness. If you try to break all boundaries you're destined to have this glorious life and also destined to be completely on the outs. Really hit me in a deep spot!"
"I am someone who considers himself fairly educated but this film illuminated some serious gaps in my knowledge base. The fact that I had no idea who Paul Goodman was and had never heard of him mortified me. Thank you Jonathan for resuscitating the memory of this important American intellectual and participating in a Question and Answer at my cinema."
―Daniel Julius Kamil – Owner, Cable Car Cinema, Providence, RI
""Paul Goodman Changed My Life" changed my life too - at 66! I suddenly saw I was not alone! I worked at with-it publishing houses in the UK in the 60s but never registered the name Paul Goodman. Invited to see this film of his life I simply thought 'Who is this over-hyped nonentity? Another dredged-up intellectual?' Watched it - and wow! Ideas on pedestrianisation and reform of schools that even now are ahead of their time. And what an influence on US students in the 60s!
But not a film that idealises - it's brilliantly balanced, warts and all, as they say - he certainly wasn't someone you'd trust your wife or husband with. A simple documentary that anyone with a brain will enjoy and learn from."
David Teale in his own words: After university, and postgraduate studies in Italy, I went into book publishing and finally, as I couldn't bear taking orders from managers, set up my own children's book selling company. Twenty years later, after becoming the largest children's bookseller in the UK, I sold out to Scholastic and among other ventures set up a foundation financing creative educational projects for young people - to encourage writing, story telling, ballet dancing, opera writing, the writing of plays, encouraging the arts among disadvantaged young people - anything to stimulate and develop children's imaginations and abilities. I've been lucky in life.
“Saw yesterday in San Fran… very moving and accomplishes the most important task: encouraging the viewer to seek and read Goodman’s writings”
I saw your fine Paul Goodman film today in Boston. I'm a 62-year-old lefty and so wasn't surprised that the film resuscitated some old, semi-dormant political fervor, though I have to admit I was also visited by less predictable emotions. I was particularly moved by your interviews with Goodman's wife. I could be mistaken, but it seemed to me that the pain he caused her was written all over her face. My travels among gifted intellectuals have, alas, given me pause sometimes, and Goodman, whose brilliance is undeniable and still exhilarating, gave me pause today. The late poem that Garrison Keillor read made me wonder if, deep in his heart of hearts, he may have himself wondered if he was, in the end, a fraud. Maybe that's not the right word. His own word was "silly," as it applied to his more carnal passions. He wouldn't be the first great man to have such misgivings as the end neared. But that's part of what I admired about the film. You obviously feel a much greater debt to Goodman than I do, but it didn't keep you from showing all the evidence and allowing us to make up our own minds. As I said, very fine work indeed. Congratulations."
― Richard Russo