Documentary is the most hybrid of media creations. Lacking the full-blown invention of scripted movies but also the hard-knuckled reality of broadcast news, it occupies a more powerful in-between. Like scripted film, it has the power to suspend assumptions and persuade us into new beliefs. But it does so without asking us to leave reality behind; documentary actively wants to shape our world and increase its comprehensibility.
“Edith + Eddie” starts out feeling like an inspirational story. A black woman and white man find each other, and love, in their mid-90s.
But as the couple is separated due to a legal battle, what could have been a life-affirming hug turns into something darker: an indictment of the elder-care system, with racial undertones. One is meant to leave the theater feeling anger at the forces that drove them apart.
“I thought it was going to be this uplifting story,” said director Laura Checkoway, a print journalist turned documentarian. "But as we were shooting it became clearer something else was happening that I strongly felt needed to be shown.”
In the Age of Alternative Facts, Decoding Truth in Documentary