The most compelling and important documentary of the year, a profoundly moving and genuinely inspiring piece of cinema. Whether one is pro-life, pro-choice or without an opinion on the issue, After Tiller provides personal insight into a heart-wrenching, complex reality. Revelatory…An absorbing, thoughtful report, [and] a welcome exploration of practical and philosophical matters seldom broached across the partisan divide. After Tiller has the power to change the way people think…Does viewers the great service of providing light where there’s usually only heat, giving a human face and heart to what previously might have been an abstract issue. A rare feat…a calm, humanist documentary about a hot-button topic. Well contextualized and sensitively shot with extraordinary access, After Tiller reflects the personal, moral, and ethical struggles of the doctors as well as their patients, and deserves the widest possible audience. Intimate and heartfelt…Brings an emotional clarity to an issue in which every nuanced turn of phrase has been made politically complicated. Extraordinarily compassionate and thought-provoking…An important film that looks unblinkingly at an important subject. Gets to the powerfully complex core of an issue that is widely misunderstood. One of the most courageous pieces of filmmaking I’ve ever seen…Engages viewers’ hearts and minds, reminding us why we need to make and watch documentary films at all.
Susan Gerhard, Fandor
After Tiller is groundbreaking in giving voice not only to the doctors, but to those who always seem to get overlooked in the high-volume political debate about the topic: the women themselves. Any viewer with an interest in this issue, whether pro-choice, pro-life, or agnostic, ought to see this heart-piercing report from the front lines. After Tiller takes the politically divisive, emotionally charged issue of late-term abortions and portrays it with grace, understatement and humanity. A+. A terrific documentary that handles sensitively this controversial and heated topic.
It’s not often one can have a genuinely spiritual experience watching a movie. But that’s precisely what’s on offer with The Departure, Lana Wilson’s quietly galvanizing portrait of life, death and the thin places in between. A film that explores life’s toughest and most transcendent moments with tenderness, honesty and care. A work of art. A beautiful meditation on the value of life. By the way, this is a documentary. But after the first few seconds, you won’t even notice. Tender and quietly moving... The Departure is like a haiku. Poetic...profound...devastating. Wilson handles the emotional subject matter with a subtle restraint that makes the film all the more moving. The Departure beautifully illustrates how meaningful life can be. Wilson's film, a quiet wonder, emphasizes the courage it takes to choose the hard work of living. Immensely moving. Lyrical and deeply meditative… digs deep into major questions without being afraid of the answers. One of the most moving films at this year's festival...gorgeous and contemplative. The Departure is a powerful work of documentary, cinema, advocacy, and art. A cinematic spiritual quest. A trip to the mountain top that will leave you moved, teary eyed, and utterly vibrating with the sense of feeling alive. A small quiet film that is thunderous in its effect. A beautiful, wise, and deeply empathetic immersion into one fascinating character's unique approach to suicide prevention. A quietly impressive work whose images, characters, and ruminations linger on long after the lights come up. There is something incredible about The Departure...it feels like the darkest, riskiest act of perseverance, a movie that sets you in constant darkness and forces you to gather why you, dear reader, have chosen life. A lyrical statement on the meaning of life...The Departure is a moving, philosophical exercise on understanding and cherishing life by confronting the finiteness of it. [Nemoto's] teaching is as much about embracing life as it is about facing death. He offers hope for all. A poetic meditation on what it means to be human and what it means to be alive. [An] intimate and casually beautiful character study of Buddhist priest Ittetsu Nemoto... There’s something tremendously profound about his mission and how he approaches it, and Wilson’s sensitive approach honors it, following his example of listening, sympathizing, and respecting the complexity of human emotions. Would that we were all so kind, as filmmakers and as people. Highly empathetic. A tale of an iconoclast that is unexpectedly profound. Emotional… filled me with empathy. Unlike many other documentaries, there are no talking heads. There are no interviews. This is a fly-on-the-wall account following a man who helps so many others but is not taking care of himself. It’s a deeply moving and intimate movie.