To Be Heard

Sunday, December 04 th, 2016 at 00:12 am 

To Be Heard

JOY REVIEW

To Be Heard starts out as a pretty traditional essay on ghetto kids and poetry as a means of self-expression. These kids are high school kids from the Bronx.  We’ve got Katrina, who’s got a very volatile relationship with her mother, Pearl who has body issues and Anthony whose dad is a convicted drug dealer in jail with kids.   All of them are from single parent families, and all three of these kids are incredibly bright, articulate, and really good poets.  And so as I said, it starts out as one more poetry jam and see who wins, and it morphs into something else over about a year where the documentary filmmakers had full access to the kids.  There is a problem with this, and that is there’s a whole generation of kids who think that their lives should be lived in front of the camera, and they talk to the camera and act to the camera, and I find that upsetting because I think it distorts things, so that you go for the dramatic rather than the accurate.  But nonetheless, Katrina gets in a fight with her mom, Pearl is the one that seems to be in some ways the sanest, and Anthony just can’t quite get his act together and ends up in prison.  Each of them feel in some way that poetry is their way out.  It’s a really interesting documentary, and as I said, the sort of accessing the notion of playing to the camera makes me a little queasy, but these are really three kids who are struggling very hard to make something of their lives with varying degrees of success.  Four stars.

JOY METER