Anita

It's clear from the subtitle that Freida Mock's documentary Anita: Speaking Truth to Power will be a rah-rah job, which is fine. What isn't clear, and what isn't fine at all, is why the final work needs to be so shapeless in its hagiography, so triumphal in its vagueness.

Mock, like most reasonable people, is convinced that Hill told the truth when, in October 1991, she got hauled before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about her experience as the target of sexual harassment from then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Mock is also convinced that anybody watching is convinced, too, and that what we really need -- rather than to have the case thoroughly settled -- is to see is a slogging final half of Hill being applauded at lecterns. In interview segments, Hill proves impressive and incisive, but the excerpts from her speeches seem too diced up to communicate effectively.

The first half is better, of course. It's hard to hash the high drama and absurdity of the Thomas hearings, in which jowly, clueless senators grilled Hill on the nastiest details while missing the point entirely regarding her allegations of a pattern of repeated, power-abusing behavior. In the extensive clips Hill remains crisp and unflappable, no matter how many times she's pressed to offer clarifications like, "He measured his penis in terms of length."

But Mock, like the Democratic senators on the committee, bobbles the case, not even bothering to tell us why it's an outrage that chairman Joe Biden never called Angela Wright to testify.

Credits

Director:

  • Rassoul Labuchin

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