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One Movie Punch

Feb 10, 2018

Today’s movie is “Seeing Allred”, the biographical documentary about Gloria Allred, civil rights attorney known for high-profile cases. Roberta Grossman and Sophie Sartain directed the film, compiling and distilling Allred’s extensive media appearances while taking a behind-the-scenes look at more recent cases, particularly victims of sexual harassment and assault.

I’m not a fan of political punditry, no matter how well intentioned, nor really a fan of the modern legal system, which systemically favors the wealthy. I am a fan, however, of people working to challenge both arenas, including Gloria Allred. And unlike most talking heads, Allred has not just talked the talk, but also walked the walk in challenging systemic sexism and representing the voiceless, while being targeted by smear campaigns and vicious satire.

The legal system has changed a great deal over the past fifty years, especially the role of politics and the media in high profile cases. Effective prosecution or defense now requires building political support and having a consistent, focused media message. Allred’s career has been at the bleeding edge of these new intersections, developing an early mastery of using the media for maximum effect, never shying away from an opportunity to give a voice for equal rights.

“Seeing Allred” (2018) does make some odd storytelling choices. The first half bounces between Allred’s work representing the women assaulted by Bill Cosby and an overview of Allred’s early life and extensive legal career. The structure changes just over halfway, though, bringing in a list of Allred’s other cases and accomplishments, which while impressive, seem to clutter the overall narrative. With a list of accomplishments as long as Allred’s, I would have appreciated more focus and detail on a single major case like Cosby’s and its repercussions.

Overall, “Seeing Allred” (2018) is a solid, if somewhat meandering documentary about an amazing woman, who has devoted her life to fighting for equal rights against some of the most powerful people in society. I may not always agree with her politics, but I admire her dedication to continue fighting within a systemically unjust judicial system to challenge and change our systemically unjust laws. Thanks for all you’ve done and continue to do, Gloria!

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

Metacritic: 66

One Movie Punch: 7.0/10

“Seeing Allred” (2018) is rated TV-14 and is currently streaming on Netflix.