Red Carpet Evening: ‘Flash of Genius’

Monday night, Kacie and I went to the premiere of Flash of Genius in Westwood, courtesy of Spyglass Entertainment. The movie is an underdog fight-for-your-rights piece based of the true story of Robert Kearns, the man who invented the intermittent windshield wiper — and then had his invention ripped off by Ford. As the tone of the movie quickly goes from excitement and optimism about the new invention to disillusionment and rage at the Ford Motor Co., you follow Kearns’ long, obsessive quest to protect his patent, which tears apart his family and puts him on unemployment.

Greg Kinnear, playing Kearns, gives a sensitive portrayal of a man who gets under the skin of the bullies and will not give up on what he believes despite the prospect of losing everything. His determination to prove his point is almost frustrating at points — many times I felt compelled to agree with his wife and his lawyers that he should just settle and move on instead of forging ahead with his much-postponed lawsuit.

But despite all the lucrative settlement offers Kearns receives, there would be no real payoff for him, or for us as viewers, if he didn’t go to court, representing himself against Ford’s corporate attorneys. For those familiar with the story, you’ll know how it turns out; for me, I was left guessing which way it would go until the very end.

Though the film had some slow points and the story followed a predictable arc, I enjoyed watching it unfold and ultimately learned a little something about what went into making the intermittent windshield wipers we all have on our cars.


Me and Kacie across the street from the theater– you can see “Flash of…” in the back right. This is what happens when you aren’t looking at what you shoot…

2 Responses to “Red Carpet Evening: ‘Flash of Genius’”

  1. Dennis Kearns says:

    Flash of Genius is a story about a guy who went to school and learned about the american dream, worked and taught others.

    Then was called and tested, to stand up as he had taught or sit down and fade away.

    Bob Kearns did not want to get placed on a park bench, no matter how many millions he could spend on that bench.

    Bob stood up for principle no matter how many or how big the adversaries.

    Maybe the Jesuit training, maybe the U S Marine training, maybe the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) training or maybe he just thought it was right.

  2. Francine says:

    Well said, Dennis. It was definitely a movie about principle, what’s right and protecting your intellectual property — a theme that definitely rings true for writers, artists and inventors.

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