Heartbreaking and harrowing. The different perspectives and forms of storytelling are all seamlessly combined into a very engaging whole. The story itself is so fascinating, but equally subjective, ambiguous and sensitive that it was a right to have the ‘dialogue’ come from the people the film is actually about, rather than the actors. From there, the way the visuals aid these interviews is brilliantly creative.
Intense. I grew up in Portugal in the mid 80's / early 90's and heroin was hand in hand with fractured families. It was like a surrogate mother for unloved children. This reminds me of how amazing my mother was and how important she remains being in my life.
This was a heartbreaking documentary to watch, especially hearing the story of Andrea Dunbar's mixed-race daughter and her subsequent traumas. I appreciated the way it was put together, and being reminded of Andrea Dunbar's work through 'The Arbor'. A hard watch with all the unfolding family sagas.
The Telegraph U.K. rightly describes The Arbor as "a hall-of-mirrors tour through fact and fiction." Initially I was thrown by the lip-syncing, but I wound up appreciating the device as well as the actors. The use of archived footage and the staging of play in the neighborhood were also quite illuminating.
Director Clio Barnard takes an unusual approach to this documentary about the British playwright Andrea Dunbar and her troubled children. Ultimately, it's all gimmick for a tale that's not that interesting. http://eddieonfilm.blogspot.com/2011/01/that-line-blurs-flurther.html
It's a harrowing rumination on family legacies and parenting first, a harrowing rumination on how your environment shapes you, and in many ways, traps you, second, and a biography third. Not as hard to watch as it sounds, mostly because the accents are awesome (I was cracking up a lot during the first half of the movie). Well, that, and it's a true, powerful story, relayed to us with verve and originality.
This film is groundbreaking in its style and succeeds astoundingly well. Actors lip-synching to actual recordings should be as Brechtian it comes, but this accomplishes the opposite effect. I had never heard of the young playwright whose life is told here, but this film makes hard to ever forget her or her family's vicious circle .
Unique documentary uses actors lip syncing subjects' words to create a chilling portrait of a vicious cycle of generational despair. A mother and a daughter's downward spirals are mirrored in each other. One an unlikely playwright, the other unwanted and out of place. It's original style gives a searing glimpse into cycles of self destruction and how it affects successive generations.