Nisha Rathode

Devils Playground (2002 film)

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Genre  Documentary
Initial DVD release  February 4, 2003
Language  English
7.1/10 IMDb

Director  Lucy Walker
First episode date  February 4, 2003
Devils Playground (2002 film) movie poster
Release date  January 11, 2002 (2002-01-11) (Sundance Film Festival)
Cast  Velda Bontrager (Herself), Mark Bontrager (Himself), Dewayne Chupp (Himself), Dylan Cole (Himself), Matt Eash (Himself), Sally Fisher (Herself)
Similar movies  Deadly Blessing, An Amish Murder, Plain Truth, The Rider & the Wolf, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Secret Window

Devil s playground trailer mov

Teenagers stream in and reach for bottles of beer with both hands while a deafening band tries AC/DC covers with two chords. The alcohol leads to cocaine and the party hits a fever pitch before boys and girls begin to pair off for the night. This could be a typical high school get together if it were not for one striking characteristic: These kids are Amish.


Devils Playground is a 2002 American documentary film directed by Lucy Walker about the experiences of several Amish youths who decide whether to remain in or leave their community and faith during the period known as rumspringa ("running around" in Pennsylvania Dutch). The film follows a few Amish teenagers in LaGrange County, Indiana who enter the "English" (non-Amish) world and experience partying, drinking, illegal drugs, and pre-marital sex. Some teens in the film profess that they will eventually become baptized as adults in the Amish community. If they are baptized, then leave the church, they will be shunned by family and friends; one girl recounts her experience of this.

The Devil's Playground is a fascinating and moving documentary about a little-known aspect of Amish life. Amish are not permitted to join the church until their late teens, and have to do so of their own volition. The film explores Rumspringa, wherein young Amish are given the opportunity to explore the "English" way of life.

Devil s playground


According to Devils Playground, at the age of 16, Amish youth are allowed to depart from many of the Amish rules. The young people sample life outside of the Amish community. Many drive cars, wear modern clothes and cut and style their hair in more fashionable styles, get jobs, have romantic and sexual relationships, and some experiment with drugs.

One Amish youth whom the film follows, Faron—a preachers son—turns to drug dealing to satisfy his habit. Faron is eventually apprehended by the authorities; he aids them in arresting another dealer. Each of the films subjects faces a variety of challenges and pressures from both the "English World" and the "Amish World" of their families. Some make the commitment to return to their communities, others do not. One girl is baptized but later leaves the Amish church, resulting in her family shunning her.

According to the documentary, "over 90%" of Amish youth decide to join the church, returning to their communities and families.

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For Richer or Poorer (1997). Witness (1985). Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2004). Cowboy del Amor (2005). This May Be the Last Time (2014).


The film won the 2001 Sony/AFI DVCam Fest Documentary Category and overall Grand Prize, the 2001 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary, and a Jurys Special Mention in the Documentary Category in the 2002 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Czech Republic). The film was nominated by jury for Best Documentary for the 2003 IFPs Independent Spirit Awards. It was also nominated for three 2002 News and Documentary Emmy awards: Best Documentary, Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Direction, and Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Editing.

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 56% of nine surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 6.4/10. Dennis Harvey of Variety stated, "To filmmaker Lucy Walkers credit, results transcend their sensational first impression, thanks to empathetic focus on a few select kids going through enormous changes", and summed it up as "engrossing." Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan called it "one of the best documentaries in the festival (Sundance)", "the film deals in a poignant way with", rumspringa, and "This examination of the life-changing question one teen calls to be or not to be Amish is haunting, provocative and unexpected." Film Threat???s Anthony Miele found the film "interesting and informative", but it "alludes to document an entire sub-culture of a particular society, but [...] simply follows one troubled youth, Faron."


Devils Playground (2002 film) Wikipedia
Devils Playground (2002 film) IMDbDevils Playground (2002 film) Rotten TomatoesDevils Playground (2002 film)

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