America's Heart & Soul, a critically acclaimed film that integrates Christian themes through secular characters, was released in theatres nationwide on Friday, July 2, 2004.
Directed by Louis Schwartzberg, the film enacts non-fictional lives of a dozen Americans in a collection of uplifting vignettes, showing different kinds of lives that Americans live.
What most of these folks have in common, Schwartzberg says, is a love of freedom, diversity and the willingness to work hard to achieve their dreams.
In many instances, critics say that the film is an anti-thesis of the another documentary film, Fahrenheit 9/11, a work that is getting a lot of talk for its criticisms of the president's policies and mockery upon American culture. The footage was shot before September 11, so there is no trace of the dark atmosphere of terrorism that has gripped the country ever since.
According to Schwartzberg, that lends the film a more timeless air. Although people are watching it in a post-September 11 world, it might feel the slightest of pauses over its unbridled optimism.
Critics call Schwartzberg's film, "an uplifting alternative."
CNN writes, "The collective spirit of these portraits makes for an uplifting infomercial on the limitless variations of the American dream, however. The film may only hint at the seamy flipside of that dream, but so what? Unadulterated decency so rarely finds a place in Hollywood, so 'America's Heart & Soul' is a welcomed counterpoint to the sardonic tone that underscores much of contemporary cinema."
Featuring one of the most high-profile and eclectic soundtracks, the film includes songs from Smash Mouth, John Hiatt and John Mellencamp, who exclusively wrote a theme song for the film.