Quick, guess the movie under review here:
What makes it memorable is its portrait of a woman with an exceptional intellect, to be sure, but also a lifelong capacity for staggering amounts of minutely detailed, unswervingly purposeful work. – The Wall Street Journal
It gives viewers a deep and multi-layered sense of the times in which the subject lived and the cultural forces that she had to struggle against to achieve what she did. – The Baltimore Sun
With the #MeToo movement occupying our culture, it’s easy to say that this is the perfect time for a detailed, thorough film on [Blank]. But frankly, anytime would have been a good time. – AP
Why bring up a two year old film today? It’s worth comparing the tone, the adulation, afforded Justice Ginsburg compared to the reception for “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas In His Own Words.”
The new documentary finds the reserved judge narrating his remarkable life story, from enduring an impoverished childhood to becoming, at 43, the successor to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Justice Thomas, of course, is a conservative. Which means the critical knives are out for the film, in limited release this weekend.
Thomas, like Ginsburg, powered past significant obstacles in his youth. He faced direct discrimination early in life. Later, in a supposedly more evolved America, the bigoted attacks came from media outlets and Hollywood. These justices are so very different in style and ideology, yet each rose above discrimination in powerful ways.
You wouldn’t glean that connection after reading reviews for both films. For example, critics are obsessing over the funding behind “Created Equal,” as well as the cozy nature of the storytellers in question.
Consider The Hollywood Reporter’s review of “Created Equal.”
If you’re wondering why Thomas is finally breaking his vow of silence, it may be due to the fact that he felt comfortable cooperating with Pack, a conservative filmmaker who’s collaborated with Steve Bannon and was nominated by President Trump for the position of chief executive officer of the U.S. Agency for Global Media. So it’s not like he was walking into the lion’s den.
Does anyone think “RBG” directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen plotted a hit piece on the elderly justice? Many reviews described that film as a hagiography. So, why snark about a “lion’s den” at all?
The THR review mirrors the media’s attacks of Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his own contentious confirmation hearing.
What comes through loud and clear during the documentary is that Thomas has lost none of the anger and bitterness he displayed during that time.
Reporters mocked Kavanaugh for getting emotional when absurd charge after absurd charge smeared his good name and threatened the most consequential gig of his life. The THR critic offers up a similar line against Justice Thomas and what the conservative famously dubbed a “high-tech lynching.”
Is there an expiration date on the fury one feels for being dubbed a sexual predator for all to see?
The New York Times’ review name checks the “friendly filmmakers” meme at the top of the critique, too.
The critic also pings the film for mirroring much of the content from Thomas’ 2007 autobiography. Should he have re-written his life story for the big screen? Or isn’t it obvious that most people haven’t read that book, and documentaries reach entirely different audiences?
Once again, the Times critic notes the funders behind the film, a tactic rarely (if ever) done when critics consider a liberal documentary.
Who funded “RBG?” Or, more recently, who passed the hat for Hulu’s multi-part Hillary Clinton documentary or the woke Taylor Swift film “Miss Americana?”
Do critics even care? If not, why now all of a sudden?
The Washington Post critic isn’t impressed by “Created Equal,” either. What’s interesting about what the Post critic ignored, along with his peers, is the racist media attacks on Justice Thomas included in the film.
The political cartoons shown in “Created Equal” are so over the top they seem like parodies, but of course they’re not. The critics’ reviews also forgot to address an infamous “In Living Color” sketch included in the documentary. The clip showedd David Alan Grier portraying Justice Thomas as a lazy clone of his peers.
It’s unfair, inaccurate, and degrading.
What’s clear from reading reviews of both “RBG” and “Created Equal” is how mainstream movie reviewers hold right-leaning documentaries to a different standard than their liberal peers.