ANITA tells the story about young, brilliant African American Anita Hill who accuses the Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of unwanted sexual advances during explosive Senate Hearings in 1991 and ignites a political firestorm about sexual harassment, race, power and politics that resonates 20 years later today.
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★★★★½ review by Ken Rudolph on Letterboxd
In 1991, I vividly recall listening to the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary committee. I was traveling at the time, so I wasn't able to watch them, only listen. Back then it was all about law professor Anita Hill's testimony that Thomas had sexually harassed and abused his power against her when she worked for him a decade earlier. Such phrases as "Long Dong Silver" and "pubic hairs" were not your everyday political fare back then! But then came the personal smears against Hill...and I remember swearing out loud to the radio about the ignorance and duplicity of the Republican hatchet men on the committee, especially Senators Arlen F*cking Specter, Orren F*cking Hatch and Alan F*cking Simpson. It was fun to do; but then Thomas did get confirmed (by a 52-48 vote); and it was no longer even remotely funny.
Now, over 20 years later, Freida Mock has assembled a thorough and fascinating history of the hearings and the aftermath, concentrating on Hill's life in subsequent years. As in 1991, Hill comes off as a remarkable woman: smart, honest, upstanding, believable. The documentary is also about how Hill became a touchstone for the women's empowerment movement which has made such great strides since the hearings. I found myself choking up emotionally viewing the achievements of this remarkable woman. The film is tightly edited and benefits from an abundance of actual footage from Hill's life and times rather than depending on big-head interviews. Mock has made a career documenting strong women, and this film is another well-pointed arrow in her quiver.
★★★½ review by lauren on Letterboxd
one of the most erie things about this documentary is that when showing the snl skit that mocked the brutality of the trial, you see that al franken is present in it
★★★½ review by Jason Alley on Letterboxd
I was 13 years old in 1991 when this whole thing was going on. I wasn't following the news a whole lot back then, but I was definitely aware of the story, had a general idea of what it was about, and I certainly remember jokes on the schoolyard about pubic hair, Coke cans, and "Long Dong Silver."
It was good for me, then, to re-visit the story through this somewhat scant and brief (76 minutes) but sturdy documentary focusing on Anita Hill. She comes across, then and now, as intelligent, honorable, patient, and very believable. It's strange to see the idea of sexual harassment being engaged back when the concept was still very new in a political forum, and quite uncomfortable to watch Hill grilled without shame like a suspect in a criminal trial by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
★★★★ review by Michael Borshuk on Letterboxd
A thoughtful documentary that uses archival footage to remind us how late into the twentieth century unchecked sexism ran through North American life, especially in the way that so many white male senators treated Anita Hill during her famous testimony in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. A humanizing portrait of such a flashpoint figure in the last quarter century.
★★★½ review by Eyes, Ears & Big Screens on Letterboxd
The straight forwardly honest story of Anita Hill and her quiet journey to declare honesty to America.
Sexual assault in the workplace being a VERY prevalent topic of conversation, Anita expresses the strength of an individual that soon flowed to empower women across the country and stand up to voice their truths
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