BOSTON – John Kerry (search) comes across as a wartime hero, a loving husband, a devoted father and a complex man with varied interests -- not a multimillionaire politician -- in a 91/2-minute film meant to introduce him to the Democratic National Convention (search) -- and the country.
Using old home movies from his childhood, snapshots of him as a Navy lieutenant in Vietnam (search) and interviews with friends and family, the film is a colorful tapestry of the Democratic presidential nominee's personal life.
He's shown as an athlete and a musician, a Yale graduate and a prosecutor, a soldier and a son, a father and a husband.
"I cried like a baby when they were born, both of them," Kerry says of his two daughters.
He also talks candidly about his parents, both of whom are deceased.
"They both just gave back," he says, "and I think their example of citizenship really had a profound impact on the whole family."
And, he calls his wife "as direct and honest as anybody that I've ever met."
Titled "A Remarkable Promise," the film will be shown Thursday night on a massive panoramic screen above the stage where the Massachusetts senator will accept the mantle as the Democratic party's presidential nominee.
In it, Kerry makes a vow: "My promise is to lead our country, to bring people together and take us to a better place."
Created by Los Angeles documentarian James Moll and his Allentown Production Co., the video scrapbook of Kerry's life is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Morgan Freeman. Steven Spielberg consulted on the project.
Moll spent four days with Kerry over the July 4 holiday weekend, filming the senator as he took a bus tour of the heartland and interviewing family members. The filmmaker said Kerry's campaign gave him no guidelines.
"I wanted to tell his story as accurately and as honestly as possible," Moll said. "I wanted to portray a side of him we don't see."
So, little of it covers Kerry's 19-year Senate career. It only briefly mentions that he was elected to the Senate in 1984 and it says he became known as a foreign policy expert who worked with both parties.
Much of the film is devoted to Kerry's service in Vietnam -- and his opposition to it upon his return to America.
As footage of the Vietnam jungles roll across the screen, Kerry tells how he was the skipper of a 50-foot gun boat, and his fellow servicemen talk of serving with him.
"There's a great similarity as some of what the guys in Iraq and Afghanistan are going through now, the kinds of patrols you go out on. You're waiting, you hold your breath, you think you're going to be ambushed," Kerry says.
Returning home, Kerry says, "I had felt that the government had not been truthful with the American people. I felt that the war was not what it was described as."