News from Home

News from Home ★★★★½

...Oh.

It's strange that News from Home is both the most unique and simple documentary I've ever seen. It's so easy to describe, and yet I'm at a loss for words. Moving images of New York City engulf Akerman's own voice, reading the words of her mother. Her mother loves her, as every letter makes clear, but she also places guilt on her daughter for daring to live an independent life. We feel for Chantal and her mother -- one woman begins a new life, while the other loses meaning in hers. Chantal writes to her mother less and less frequently, and her mother's voice grows softer as the city gets louder. Despite its formal minimalism, I was captivated by it. Could this same experiment been done in a shorter period of time? Probably, but there's something about the length that really squeezes out every ounce of emotion there is.

What I would like to consider briefly, though, is whether or not movies need to be actively engaging to be good. This film is very, very slow. Honestly, I had to walk around my room while it was playing to keep myself alert. If I saw this in a theater, I'm sure multiple people would've fallen asleep. It's not any kind of spectacle, and yet, I loved it. Can you love a film and find it boring? With News from Home as an example, I think you can.

Rating: 89/100

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