- One of the Best Documentaries ever made 8/25/2020 12:00:00 AM by veronicamilesfilm
I've never seen anything like this beautiful work of art. Thank you to the Richardson family for sharing your story. I hope this film changes lives and minds, the world is a better place with this film in it.
- God is Good 10/16/2020 12:00:00 AM by kyrajcostner
When I heard that this was becoming a documentary I knew that I had to see it. This is a beautiful story of a strong family!! God is truly good and has blessed them to see what so many others have not. I definitely cried a few times. Sibil is an inspiration. God bless them. I really wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.
- No middle ground. 10/11/2020 12:00:00 AM by giacomo_101
I almost lost hope in this documentary, but that hope was rectified with the final 15 beautiful minutes. However even though the documentary finished strong, as a whole it really failed to grip me!
The overall backbone of the film, was for me the journey that the family experienced whilst growing up without a father. This journey for me was incomplete. As a viewer I wanted to know how the mother created her own narrative and was reborn from the ashes, completely rising up from the total desperation of before she was incarcerated. How the children were effected by this when they were small children to when they were adults. Not just raw footage of a baby and then current video of a graduation. The director showed us the beginning and the end, unfortunately I found no middle ground.
- a strong woman 10/8/2020 12:00:00 AM by ferguson-6
Greetings again from the darkness. "Our prison system is nothing more than slavery, and I'm an abolitionist." So states Fox Rich, a successful business woman, and the mother of six boys. Director Garrett Bradley brings us the story of this woman who devoted 20 years to the mission of getting her husband's prison sentence reduced. It was 1997, and the desperate Shreveport couple were arrested for armed bank robbery. Fox took the plea bargain, while husband Rob did not.
Fox served less than 3 years for her involvement in the robbery, while a Louisiana judge sentenced Rob to 60 years (the maximum sentence was 99), with no allowance for parole. Fox was pregnant with twins when Rob was sentenced. She named the twins Freedom and Justus. Director Bradley expertly weaves clips from the home videos Fox recorded for Rob with 'in the moment' discussions and observations of her attempts to get someone in the system to hear the case.
What we witness over the course of the film is a proud, strong, fierce woman who, as a single mother, raises 6 kids while she works - at her job and to get Rob released. Twice per month visits is all that she's allowed with Rob, which leads one of the sons to comment that hiding behind the strong family image is a lot of pain. Fox discusses how her mother taught her to believe in the American Dream, but desperate people do desperate things ... although we never get an explanation of just why Fox and Rob were so desperate to rob a bank. Fox's mother states, "Right don't come to you doing wrong", and then she turns around and compared incarceration to slavery.
There are some mixed messages delivered here, which is understandable given how complicated life can get. Perhaps the most vivid message is the impact incarceration has on a family. Fox is an extraordinary woman devoted to raising her sons as strong and smart young men. But she also decries that her boys have never had a father and don't even know the role one plays. While Fox displays the ultimate in polite phone decorum despite her frustrations with an uncaring, inefficient system, we do see her sincerity as she stands in front of her church congregation asking for forgiveness of her poor choices.
The film was highly acclaimed and talked about at Sundance 2020, and that's likely because it strikes hard at family emotions and societal issues. A prime example is the phone call between Fox and Rob just prior to his re-sentencing hearing. From a filmmaking perspective, the black and white images are terrific, and as previously stated, the home movies and "live" filming are expertly blended. On the downside, the sound mix is horrible at the beginning, and the music (beautiful piano playing) often overpowers the dialogue throughout. It's a film meant to create discussion amongst viewers, and it's sure to do so.
- Bradley's Retelling of Time: The Richardson Family 10/11/2020 12:00:00 AM by babyjaguar
Bradley's treatment of the Richardson family is "timely" and needed to give the mainstream empathy for incarceration time. The documentary follow Mrs. Sibil Richardson's(Fox Rich) determinationn to advocate the release of her husband, Robert who was doing a 60 year sentence.
The rest of the segments composed of intimate interviews with their children. It follows their mother advocating the problem of imprisonment. Its contrast of black and white imagery, capturing the tension, almost "noir" like appearance.
The interesting side of this documentary is showing the Louisiana Creole life. Even seeking "faith" outside of church support but to practice Afro-Louisiana "folkloric" traditions beyond Baptist and Catholic beliefs.