Love & Diane (2002)
Jennifer Dworkin taught photography workshops in the New York City shelter system, and that's how she eventually met the subjects of her documentary, Love and Diane. Diane Hazzard is a single mother of six children and a recovering crack addict living in Brooklyn. As the film opens, one of her daughters, Love Hinson, has just given birth to a baby boy, Donyaeh. Love and Diane follows the family's trials over nearly three years, as Diane struggles valiantly to reunite her family and regain the trust of her children. Love, meanwhile, deals with her own history of abuse and her HIV-positive status as she fights to maintain custody of Donyaeh. Love's fitness as a parent is called into question as she grapples with depression, and with her powerful rage at her mother and the world. Diane's efforts to hold her family together after it has been wracked by tragedy are thwarted by a well meaning but inept child welfare system. Donyaeh, meanwhile, grows up a miraculously bright and happy little boy. Dworkin's film was shown at the 2002 Locarno Film Festival, where it shared the Golden Leopard Video prize. It was also selected for the 2002 New York Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for Love & Diane
Compelling from beginning to end.
Presents a story as insightful as it is harrowing.
Primarily of interest to those in the helping professions, Director Jennifer Dworkin presents this less as a case study than as a study in survival, and proves that strength of character often exists even in situations where abuse has occurred.
An eloquent, unaffected panegyric to a family which confronts every imaginable burden of poverty.
There is meat of humanity here, love both true and forlorn, little shaping beyond the choice of what to include.
Dworkin gives a compassionate face to the miasma of New York's family court-social services matrix.
It is a movie about the real challenge of heroism.
A velvet-swaddled, iron-fisted documentary that will set standards of vérité filmmaking for years to come.
["Love & Diane"] is an ideal documentary for a two-part POV on public television and is a remarkable feature for docu-maker Dworkin.
Vivid, accomplished and ultimately soul-touching.
both intimate and epic, a compelling observation of the labyrinthine state welfare systems which frustrate with cross purposes and the cyclical nature of abuse and neglect.
A serious and illuminating documentary that, at two hours and 35 minutes, fully devotes itself to painting a family portrait seldom allowed such rich cinematic detail.
Shatters myths and stereotypes about the welfare cycle as it delivers an unforgettable portrait of complex lives still largely ignored by popular culture.
By the time the film ends, we have come to feel that we are practically members of the Hazzard family. The flip side is that we are also exhausted by the numbing accumulation of mundane detail, all too vividly rendered.
Dworkin's potent documentary is a definitive distillation of life in America's black underclass.
I can't imagine an attentive viewer leaving Love & Diane without increased understanding and concern with regard to inner-city life.
This important, psychologically rich film not only overturns the ugly stereotype of the welfare mother with no ambition and plenty of children, but also avoids blindly condemning New York State's much-maligned child welfare system.
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