When the personal intersects with the political, documentary shines. And so does One Child Nation from Nanfu Wang. Born in China, but living in New York City, the birth of Wang’s son in 2017 turns her attention back to her formative days growing up during China’s one-child policy. To learn more, Wang picks up her camera, turns it on her family, and quickly falls down a dark and murky rabbit hole. The movie is currently on the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary — it should win — and will be playing alongside other shortlisted docs at the Alamo Drafthouse Westminster this weekend. It is also available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
In wide release, Just Mercy tells the tale of lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) as he attempts to free an innocent man on death row (Jamie Foxx). The movie isn’t great, but it does highlight the great work Stevenson has devoted his life to. It also contains a somber and moving set-piece that takes place on one night on death row. It’s the beating heart of an over-bloated and predictable movie.