Coming to virtual theatrical today, Friday, July 17:
Elizabeth Coffman and Mark Bosco, SJ
Hot Springs Doc 2019
New Orleans, Austin, Oxford
A biography on the acclaimed Southern Gothic author Flannery O’Connor.
Though she died before reaching 40, with only a handful of published novels and short story collections, Flannery O’Connor left a lasting impression on the American literary scene. Her work is exemplary of Southern Gothic, with a sardonic focus on the grotesque and darker side of humanity, while also reflecting her deeply held Catholic beliefs. Filmmakers Elizabeth Coffman and Mark Bosco, SJ take a respectful approach to their biography, breaking up talking head-driven interviews with friends and experts by weaving in excerpts of O’Connor’s journals and other writing, archival material, and animated sequences. While not wholly successful, these methods help to enliven the proceedings to some extent, though the film feels overlong and suffers from a relentless, distracting score and a seeming hesitation to fully address more controversial elements of O’Connor’s life and work, particularly in relation to race. Still, given the lasting interest in O’Connor, there will be an appreciative audience for this biographical exploration.