OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL 2023 REVIEW! Documentarian Penny Lane steps out from behind the camera and becomes her next subject in Confessions of a Good Samaritan. We know Lane from documentaries like Our Nixon, Hail Satan!, and Listening to Kenny G. Yet, during the global pandemic, it dawned on her that she had two perfectly good working kidneys and there are thousands of potential recipients whose lives could be saved through the voluntary act of organ donation.
The movie takes us down two paths. The first path is the standard educational one, highlighting the desperate need for Good Samaritans to consider donating this vital organ. The other is Lane’s personal video diary of her experiences. It’s not easy to give up a major organ… at least not in our minds. Let’s be real. I know I would walk away from the procedure after endless hours of overthinking everything. Lane’s reflections are often her thoughts at the moment, allowing us to feel what she feels at the moment.
Confessions of a Good Samaritan then walks us down what feels like a very long journey covering as many bases as possible. The first obvious question is why? Why would anybody needlessly put their lives in danger? Is the process of donating dangerous? Lane then takes us along every step she makes. Considering the picture is only 1 hour and 45 minutes, the information feels comprehensive. We learn a lot about director Lane’s personality and other quirks, one of which is not wanting to be out there.
“…she had two perfectly good working kidneys, and there are thousands of potential recipients whose lives could be saved…”
Conversely, Confessions of a Good Samaritan goes through the reasons to consider donating your kidney. She speaks with people in desperate need of a kidney and shows instances when some get to meet their donors. She also goes into the history of organ transplants and how far the procedure has come today, particularly the creation of resistance medicine, allowing the body to accept the new organ.
Director Lane brings much of her trademark humor and levity to this serious subject. Yet, in the end, this self-professed non-religious individual goes on a deep dive into the Biblical fable of The Good Samaritan. It’s one of the few stories that Jesus tells that is not about the pious and the religious but a story of a complete stranger, an outcast, who is motivated to do good because it’s the right thing to do.
In case you’re wondering, we never meet the recipient of Lane’s kidney. I’m sure it was for privacy reasons, but in a way, it was right for the film to focus on us, the audience. It’s not often we’re given the chance to perform an act of true self-sacrifice. Ultimately, Confessions of a Good Samaritan confronts us with the question, why not you?
Confessions of a Good Samaritan screened at the 2023 Oak Cliff Film Festival.
"…why not you?"