Wow. Just wow. Ava DuVernay’s Origin, based on Isabel Wilkerson’s bestselling book “Caste,” is a searing examination of systemic racism on a global scale. Powerful, moving, and beautiful, Origin is easily one of the best movies of the year.
Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor delivers a fantastic performance as… Pulitzer Prize-winning Isabel Wilkerson… who is enlisted to write about systemic racism following the killing of Trayvon Martin. Origin follows her as she researches the subject, revealing direct connections between Nazi Germany, Jim Crow laws, and the Indian caste system, while dealing with her own personal hardships.
Origin hit me in ways I wasn’t expecting. I’m not the most emotional of viewers–I don’t cry during movies, and I find it weird when people do–but this movie is one of the most emotionally powerful movies of the decade. If it doesn’t gut punch you at least a few times, then you may be a sociopath. Even better, it isn’t emotionally manipulative or melodramatic; DuVernay approaches the material with grace, maturity, and sophistication.
The movie is gorgeous to look at, and often feels entrancing. DuVernay is at the top of her game here, the talent she’s known for matched perfectly with the material.
Wow. Just wow.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.