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The Most Hated Woman in America

The Most Hated Woman in America in 1964, Life magazine dubbed Madalyn Murray O’Hair “the most hated woman The Most Hated Woman in America in America,” running a huge feature on the outspoken atheist. (Just to put her celebrity in context, the magazine devoted its cover to LBJ’s beagles, Her and Him, sitting on the White House lawn.) Tommy O’Haver’s Netflix original gleefully appropriates that label, reminding viewers of a controversial figure whom subsequent generations take for granted, and few bother to disparage today. It was she who fought to remove the stigma from disbelief, who founded American Atheists, and who won a landmark Supreme Court case banning mandatory Bible readings in public schools — all of which factors into a tabloid-style biopic that chooses to focus primarily on the sordid details of her demise.

Whether or not most believers will admit it, the conventional wisdom goes that one of the great comforts of religion is the way it promises something better after death. But the way actress Melissa Leo plays it — unhinged, as usual, but deliciously so — Madalyn was positively fearless: She ignored daily death threats, combatively told her critics to “go to hell,” and laughed when a zealot in a Jesus costume tried to assassinate her at a public appearance. When the moment of her death finally did arrive, the notorious disbeliever looked her killer in the eye and told him she was ready to face whatever void awaits atheists after they die.

Duration: 91 min


IMDb: 6.1