Baldwin: Find your way with ‘News of the World’

Howdy, my fellow city-clicker cinephiles of Winchester!

2021 is now upon us. Has your discipline swayed from the first week of your New Year’s resolution?

We always say we are going to be better Jan 1. It could be working out, sleeping more, eating right, but how many of us ever say, “We will talk less and listen more?”

It takes an honest person to identify that they do not listen as much as they talk.

Listening is one of the keys to maintaining solid relationships, building trust and overall being a kind person.

Listening to the breath of humanity that you are surrounded by is one of the themes we will cover in today’s film, “News of the World” (2020).

“News of the World” is a western drama that takes place five years after the Civil War in the rough and dusty plains deep in the heart of Texas.

Former Confederate infantryman Capt. Kidd, portrayed by Tom “Captain Phillips” Hanks, has found employment as a traveling storyteller riding from town to town to read newspapers to citizens for 10 cents a person.

While Kidd is traveling to his next reading engagement, he comes upon a lynched man and an overturned wagon on the road.

Kidd discovers a 10-year-old white girl Johanna, played by Helena “System Crasher” Zengel, at the scene wearing Native American clothing. She had been kidnapped by the Kiowa people when she was a wee one.

Kidd takes the young girl to the Union checkpoint but comes up short when he is told that the Native American affairs representative from the reservation will not be in the area to deal with this matter for three months. Kidd reluctantly accepts the responsibility to return Johanna home to her surviving aunt and uncle.

The duo set out on a long journey through tough Texas terrain full of dust storms, bandits, militia, Kiowa tribesman and the frequency of being run through the mill everywhere they go.

The difficulties of this trip are also exasperated by the communication breakdown between the two speaking different languages.

“News of the World” was directed Paul “Jason Bourne” Greengrass with a screenplay by Greengrass and Luke “Catch-22” Davies adapted from the 2016 Paulette Jiles novel of the same title.

Upon its Christmas release, “News of the World” is rumored Oscar worthy and praised by most viewers and critics.

“News” is a slow-paced yarn but effective as a western showcasing once again the talent of Hanks accompanied his young costar Zengel riding shotgun.

If you are a fan of “The Searchers” (1956), “True Grit” (1969) or “Rooster Cogburn” (1975), then “News” is the thematic title to tickle your Technicolor tumbleweed.

“News of the World” is the story of two people, two worlds, two languages coming together through pain to find the one thing they do share: humanity.

Kidd is our hero fighting for innocence, kindness and patience even when faced with external obstacles while dealing with his own issues pertaining to his marriage and faith. The unlikely roadtrippers tackle the issues at hand while building trust and unity with each step they take on the road home.

Remember that we all have more in common with the stranger on the street than you think.

Building new relationships or fixing to restore old ones takes time. It takes humility, patience and being open to the willingness to listen, even when it’s hard.

Be aware in the moment of when you are conversing and sharing with someone.

Beat the devil around the stump by reminding yourself that the more you wobble your jaw, you feed your ego and the more you listen, you fill the hearts of both in the conversation.

Be self-aware, acknowledge the corn and have a film-tastic day.

Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker and film/music historian. He is president of the Winchester-Clark County Film Society. Find more from Rick on Facebook. He is on Twitter @rickbaldwin79  and can be reached by email at