Christa has decided to ramp up the classiness of the blog collab with our first foray into documentary. Bear with me as I’ve never reviewed a documentary except maybe as a school assignment.
You will probably want to read Christa’s review. Not required reading, but it should be.
Where to Watch:
In a small apartment on the Lower East Side, seven siblings who aren’t allowed to go outside live under the rule of a controlling father. This is almost a fairy tale, isn’t it?
The Uncondensed Version:
Homeschooled and permitted to leave their apartment on rare occasions (under adult supervision), the Angulo siblings reenact their favorite movies to pass the time.
It’s quite impressive, as they have little access to technology and equipment. One of the brothers writes down every line as he watches films and types out scripts on a typewriter. He also makes a Batman costume from cereal boxes and yoga mats and talks about the magic of film. It’s quite adorable.
Their parents are free spirits, giving the children Sanskrit names, long hair, and the sense of being a tribe. Or, as one of the brothers puts it, it’s like a prison. The tribal mentality seems to come from a rejection of the world and their father’s belief in his own enlightenment. This would be cooler if he weren’t so controlling and abusive to their mother.
However, the siblings use the power of film to escape until they begin to venture out on their own when the eldest is 15. As you might expect, the decision to go out exploring leads to some big changes in the way they see the world. The Angulos try to balance their longing for new experiences with the fear of strangers and the outside world instilled in them for the entirety of their lives.
I think the power of this documentary rests with getting to know the Angulo siblings and admiring how genuinely sweet and introspective they are, so I’m going to stop.
Also they have a cat.
4/5 Pink Panther Heads
Quite moving, and those siblings are so adorable it hurts.
It’s so hard not to want to punch the father in the face, esp. when he starts talking about Jesus and forgiveness in the context of him being the Jesus figure, essentially. It is the absolute worst part of this film.
Thankfully, this documentary focuses on the siblings and their creative power, which is really much more interesting than yet another controlling, emotionally manipulative middle-aged dude.
Does Christa agree? Find out here!