Monday, September 08, 2014

Documentary Review: Sherman's March: An Improbable Search For Love

Available for streaming on
Netflix as of 9/8/14
Ross McElwee's film is not what you would think. This soft spoken guy set out to make a historical documentary about General Sherman's destruction of the south during the civil war.. however he can't help from getting distracted by women along the way. This film was made in 1985 and it shows in the women he meets along the way.. giant glasses, giant hair, the whole thing!

Every once in awhile he tosses in a few facts about General Sherman, but mostly he follows a number of different women around like a stalker, filming their every move.
The film took me three days to watch it. It's 157 minutes long! I mean, McElwee must hate editors and editing because he seems to have just left in everything he filmed over his journey.

I have to wonder if he was ever truly planning on making the film about Sherman. Only a handful of times during this documentary did he actually set up the camera and start narrating facts about William Tecumseh Sherman.

So what I think this film does show is a lonely man whose girlfriend broke up with him just before he began to make his Sherman documentary, so he did what most of us do when we hurt and started to try and fill that void with the company of other women. And like most filmmakers he simply found everything too interesting to put the camera down.

As boring as the premise for this documentary seems, I found myself wanting to finish it to find out if he ever got back to making the movie he intended, or if he ever finds a lasting relationship. And unfortunately we are left unsatisfied on both accounts.

The only other redeeming quality of this movie is getting a glimpse of life in the true south with the "debutantes" he meets. And then the woman at the end who was psycho about getting him hooked up with a woman... to the point of making him and the audience feel uncomfortable.

Also, who knew that people in the South were still mad about General Sherman?


I give this documentary... 2 Stars.



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