Movie Review: Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
Christian Movie- Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, 1999, starting Cuba Gooding Jr.
The movie starts in the year 1987 at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, in Baltimore,MD. A German couple had twin babies that are congenitally joined at the head. They request that Dr. Ben Carson, a respected neurosurgeon, operate to separate the twins. This type of operation had never been done before with both babies surviving due to severe bleeding. Dr. Carson decides to attempt the surgery after forewarning the parents of the possible risks.
The movie flashes back to Ben's school days in Detroit in 1961. He is a poor student ( academically and financially ), but the main trouble is that he needs glasses to see better. His mother encourages both Ben and his brother Curtis to do good in school, even though she is a single parent who only finished third grade and covers up that she cannot read.She tells Ben that he is not dumb, and that he can have an imagination. She says, " You've just got to see beyond what you can see." Ben starts working very hard and gets good grades by studying and limiting TV watching. He wins the 8th grade academic award, but a white woman is jealous that a poor boy of color did better than the "lazy" white students. His mother is angry, and they move to a newer house and school.Ben unfortunately meets bad friends, and in an argument, he stabs another boy. By God's grace, the knife breaks on the boy's belt buckle, so he wasn't killed. Ben repents and prays to God to remove his bad temper.
The movie then goes on to Yale University in 1969. He is interested in science and medicine. The movie notes that brains and determination are needed to become a surgeon, but good hand-eye coordination is a gift that makes it possible. He is accepted as a resident at Johns Hopkins, partly because he and his interviewer both share a love of classical music. He does very well as a resident, despite a tough and probably racist supervisor. He is helped by a girlfriend, Candy, who he later marries. She becomes pregnant with twins, but unfortunately, the babies are lost during childbirth. He works harder and keeps praying to God for guidance and strength. He performs an emergency lobectomy as a resident while the supervising doctors where away, and while he took a big chance of being fired, he saved the patient's life and was commended by the dept. head.
Getting back to the head conjoined twins seen at the start of the movie, he has decided to operate. His mother tells him, " Even if you fail, at least you did something." They prepare the medical team and decide to stop the twin's heart for one hour to stop the loss of blood. The long difficult operation is a success and both twins live. He tells the parents that he prayed hard and that he prays to God every day. His Christian faith is a big part of who he is. Truly, the power of prayer really makes a difference. A very inspiring story of a great neurosurgeon who overcame great odds to succeed and to remain humble , giving thanks to God for His blessings. The movie ends at this stage of his life. ( He is now a retired surgeon and made an unsuccessful run for the United States presidency in 2015 as a Republican . He continues to hold strong Christian principles.)
-- Richard Cerruti Sept. 24, 2016