I’ve begun to watch Ava DuVernay‘s Origin. It’s all right so far (Trayvon Martin tapes, Nazis in Poland, assisted living, Finn Wittrock as August Landmesser, Blair Underwood) but I can feel what’s coming or have read warnings, I should say…135 minutes of forced-march instruction.

Scarier: “Origin is an historical journey into the caste system seen thru the eyes of a woman searching for herself and [social] truth. In that way it is more akin to Eat Pray Love than anything else. But with Ava, it is more to the spirit of Stanley Kramer.” — Journo friendo a few weeks ago.

The Reveal‘s Scott Tobias and Keith Phipps: “There isn’t a movie in Origin. Or, at least, there isn’t a movie that writer-director Ava DuVernay has the creative moxie to conjure from an unadaptable book.

“The source here is Isabel Wilkerson’s ‘Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents‘, a nonfiction bestseller that pieces together a grand unifying theory of societal oppression. That’s an argument built around a thesis, not unlike DuVernay’s persuasive documentary The 13th, which draws on powerful archival footage to make the connection between slavery and a prison-industrial complex that punishes Black people disproportionately. Yet fiction features don’t accommodate that sort of didacticism. They have to persuade through drama, or a little cinematic brio.”

Why Origin Has Fizzled on The Oscar Trail,” posted on 12.15.23.