It's a shame no one wants to talk to them at parties, because obituary writers are a surprisingly funny bunch. Ten hours before newspapers hit neighborhood doorsteps—and these days, ten minutes before news hits the web—an obit writer is racing against deadline to sum up a long and newsworthy life in under 1000 words. The details of these lives are then deposited into the cultural memory amid the daily beat of war, politics, and football scores. Obit. is the first documentary to explore the world of these writers and their subjects, focusing on the legendary team at The New York Times, who approach their daily work with journalistic rigor and narrative flair. Going beyond the byline and into the minds of those chronicling life after death on the freshly inked front lines of history, the film invites some of the most essential questions we ask ourselves about life, memory, and the inevitable passage of time. What do we choose to remember? What never dies?
* Q&As with Director Vanessa Gould on Saturday 5/27 at the 7:15pm show and Sunday 5/28 at the 5:15pm show *
Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper: ★★★ 1/2 "Life-affirming, slyly amusing, affectionate” “Masterful”
Boston Globe, Ty Burr: ★★★ 1/2 "Charming and soulful, “Obit” should convince the doubters and cheer those who already know....I can personally attest that the movie’s dead on."
Boston Herald: A-, “a mysteriously uplifting experience”
The Economist: “A rich, compelling portrait of a profession that rarely receives the dignity it so graciously affords others.”
The Paris Review: (Staff Pick), ) “Endearing and uplifting”
The Washington Post: "A valentine. Immensely satisfying."
San Francisco Chronicle: "Delightful"
Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan (Critic's Pick): "Fun and informative" "a lesson in how to bring the dead to vivid life"
New York Times, Gene Seymour (Critic's Pick): "Observant, graceful and nonchalantly witty"
Deadline: "Outright entertaining. My favorite documentary of 2017. So far."
VOX: One of 13 Best Movies in Theaters Now
Rolling Stone: "Stunning"
Salt Lake City Tribune: ★★★ 1/2 "Fascinating and touching"
Salt Lake City Herald Extra: "Hot ticket"
"Critic's Pick! Observant, graceful and nonchalantly witty. One comes away from Obit. grateful that the paper has at its disposal a team of humane, gifted people who make commemorating the dead a lively, lasting art."
—Gene Seymour, The New York Times
"Fascinating and surprisingly funny.”
—Rex Reed, Observer
"A remarkably good film about the craft of writing. I was amazed and often delighted by Obit."
—Stuart Klawans, The Nation
"Unfailingly refreshing and engrossing. Obituary writing as practiced by the ace team at The New York Times could be the most imaginative and organic form of journalism in contemporary newspapers."
—Michael Sragow, Film Comment
"Inspirational, uplifting and often hilarious. Gould has crafted the perfect documentary."
—William Garre, The Upcoming
"One of the few great films I've seen about writing."
—Erik Luers, Filmmaker Magazine
"A more lighthearted film on such a seemingly dark subject is hard to imagine.”
—Mitchell Abidor, Jewish Currents
"Engaging and lively. An enjoyable behind-the-scenes look at one of journalism's odder jobs."
—John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter
"A must-see. Breathes new life into the obituary."
—Jim Slotek, Toronto Sun