” is not a multi-character film in the spirit of director Robert Altman
, or 2006 Oscar-winner “Crash.” Instead of being a sprawling tapestry, the intertwined stories of two very different farming families (one black, one white) unfolds into one increasingly cohesive narrative.
“It’s almost like one story [that is] being handed off and everyone is [unaware] they are having similar conversations with themselves,” said director Dee Rees
when she was a guest on IndieWire’s Filmmaker Toolkit podcast. “At one point [cinematographer] Rachel [Morrison] was like, ‘When has this ever worked?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know, but this will be the film where it works.’”
To accomplish this, Rees grounds the audience in the subjectivity of six different protagonists, each with their own internal monologue. It’s something a novel — like Hillary Jordan
,” which Rees and co-writer Virgil Williams
’ adapted — can do effortlessly by accessing the internal thoughts of various characters,