Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (11)
| Top Critics (9)
| Fresh (9)
| Rotten (2)
Narrated by the 83-year-old Anton, the documentary takes on even more emotional punch as you hear the joy, the sadness, the pain, the anticipation in his time-weary voice; no "talking head" could have done his story justice.
"Almost There" has some extraordinarily fine elements, but its big reveal destroyed all the goodwill it expected I would feel by film's end. Your mileage may vary.
He's demanding, imperious, self-pitying and manipulative to a degree that would be difficult to accept in a major talent, let alone a wannabe whose work barely rises to the level of paint-by-numbers. Nor is this portrait of him particularly well crafted.
As the filmmakers work through their messy, messed-up place in the life story they're capturing, the film gathers a head of steam.
The observational documentary meets the observer effect in Almost There as filmmakers chronicle how their solitary subject is changed by their own scrutiny.
An involving documentary about complicated filmmaker-subject relations.
Too many documentaries suffer for just assuming we'll agree their subjects are interesting. This one puts in the work and gives us reason to be compelled.
The ethical question of how involved the filmmakers ought to be, in light of his circumstances, grows uneasy. "I'm not your subject," Anton bursts out at one point, "I thought you were my friend."
What starts out as a familiar kind of portrait eventually grows a layer or two more complex, offering narrative appeal even to those who don't know their Henry Dargers from their Howard Finsters.
For a while, the movie feels like an episode of "Hoarders" inflected with a hipster aesthetic.
This strikes a balance between character study and social study, as the filmmakers ask us to consider how our communities care for isolated individuals who are elderly or mentally ill.
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