The Rachel Divide


The Rachel Divide (2018)


Critic Consensus: Compelling and disturbing in occasionally unintended ways, The Rachel Divide uses one woman's infamy to examine modern American race relations.


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Movie Info

Self-described "trans racial" activist Rachel Dolezal ignited an unprecedented media storm when a local news station in Spokane, WA outed her as a white woman who had been living as the black president of the NAACP. Since the controversy erupted, director Laura Brownson and team exclusively filmed with Rachel, her sons and her adopted sister Esther, capturing the intimate, vérité life story of a damaged character who lands squarely in the cross-hairs of race and identity politics in America - and exploring how that character still provokes negative reactions from millions who see her as the ultimate example of white privilege. A Netflix original documentary, The Rachel Divide, is executive produced by Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams.

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Critic Reviews for The Rachel Divide

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (13)

"The Rachel Divide" becomes a disturbing and enthralling drama of the American family, the pain of its truths and its fictions.

May 1, 2018 | Full Review…

Its title is a bit too clever, but The Rachel Divide takes a largely serious, respectful and dignified approach toward a subject many would say is undeserving.

Apr 27, 2018 | Full Review…

Brownson has done exactly what she needed to: show how Dolezal was formed, how society responded to her insistence that "race is a construct," and how she's coping in the face of such relentless hatred.

Apr 27, 2018 | Full Review…

It's devastating to see so many innocent people torn down by Dolezal's deceit, and The Rachel Divide benefits immensely by highlighting their voices, including those of some of the NAACP members she worked with.

Apr 27, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

"The Rachel Divide" grapples with Dolezal's contradictions, as well as with the inherent problems of making a movie about her.

Apr 26, 2018 | Full Review…

Ms. Brownson hasn't figured out how to construct a movie around a figure who essentially owes her fame to the obfuscation of her past.

Apr 26, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Rachel Divide

There is a tremendously intriguing subject for debate in the middle of this - the possibility of transracial identity, which has already raised a lot of controversy - but the film remains mostly on the surface and never goes deep enough into the complexity of what this could mean.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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