Monday, July 3, 2017

Obit Movie Review

Bill McDonald (r) appears in Obit

Who's Dead?

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Every day, editorial obituary writers deposit the details of a handful of extraordinary lives into the cultural memory - each life's story spun amid the daily beat of war, politics, and football scores. Obit is the first documentary to explore the world of these remarkable writers and their subjects, focusing on a small team at The New York Times who approach their work with journalistic rigor and narrative flair. Going beyond the byline and into the minds of those chronicling life after death on the freshly inked front lines of history, the film invites some of the most essential questions we ask ourselves about life, memory, and the inevitable passage of time. What do we choose to remember? What never dies? Directed by Vanessa Gould.

"Obits have next to nothing to do with death; and in fact, have absolutely everything to do with life." In one sentence, the New York Times' Margalit Fox alleviates any fears (I had) surrounding Obit, an illuminating look at the "Siberia" of the newspaper business... obituaries. 93 minutes literally flies by, as Fox and her fellow writers struggle with deadlines, impact and opening paragraphs (AKA the lede.) "The clock is always ticking" to form "an eloquent send off," in 500 words; yet day after day, this coterie of wordsmiths does it (often) without fail. Honest, respectful and above all, entertaining.

Grade: B