Darshan, The Embrace
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Dobermann and Blueberry director Jan Kounen offers further testament to his fascination with spirituality in this documentary exploring the healing power of touch as exhibited by Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (aka Amma, the "Hugging Saint"). A lifelong humanitarian who has spread joy by wrapping her arms around approximately 23 million people over the course of her lifetime, Devi is observed both up close and from afar as she meditates, travels from city to city on a lifelong mission of goodwill, and discuss her philosophy with the filmmakers. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Her teachings are trite."
‑ Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times
"Unless you're already a true believer, Amma comes across in Darshan as a perfect angel, a frustrating enigma and a rather dull cinematic subject."
‑ Tim Grierson, L.A. Weekly
"Lacks both narrative edge and a complex world view."
‑ Eric Monder, Film Journal International
"Works better as a sad meditation on the spiritual hopes of a poverty-stricken people than as a portrait of a charismatic guru."
‑ Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Jan Kounen's Darshan- The Embrace extols the healing power of touch, revealing, cinematically and without condescension, the appeal of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi."
‑ Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
"You may walk away from Darshan, if it moves you at all, smiling yourself. After all, we could all use a hug."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"Director Jan Kounen clearly reveres his subject, too; you begin yearning for some skeptics to restore the balance, but they never appear."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"a beautifully filmed portrait of a woman who embodies a human love that is nothing short of miraculous"
‑ Keith Breese, Filmcritic.com
"Even if the idea of spiritual gurus and personality cults make you slightly uncomfortable, Jan Kounen's beautifully filmed portrait of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi offers enough beautiful shots of India to seduce even the least spiritual of travelers."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Less National Geographic and more personal history would have added a dimension to Darshan."
‑ John Anderson, Newsday
"Kounen captures the squalor of Indian everyday life, as well as the tranquil faces and holy places of everything that passes his camera's gaze."
‑ Ted Fry, Seattle Times
"It may have been Ari Gold on HBO's "Entourage" who coined the phrase "hug it out," but it's Indian guru Amma who lives it."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"A documentary about Amma, India's hugging saint, that reveals her large reserves of unconditional love, playfulness, compassion, and service of the poor."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
More reviews for Darshan, The Embrace on Rotten Tomatoes