‘A Day in the Life of America’ Review: Jared Leto’s Patriotic Doc Tries to Reduce American Anxiety [Tribeca]

/Film | 5/6/2019 | Caroline Cao
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Actor Jared Leto‘s directorial debut, playing the Tribeca Film Festival, is spun from constructive intentions, but I had a hard time buying into its purported positivity. Leto posited that he hoped this documentary, A Day in the Life of America, would be seen as a time capsule years later. I suspect that decades later–hopefully when the nation is recovering from the long-term damage of the Trump administration–I would still see this film with stirring stories sullied by its overall skewered positivity.

The conceit of capturing a chorus of voices and viewpoints around America lends itself to an earnest tapestry of the American experience. Deploying 92 camera crews around all 50 states of America (and Puerto Rico) on July 4th, 2017, Leto’s team captures the day-in-the-life of individuals and communities gearing up for Independence Day, all over the course of 24 hours. Inevitably, there are nerving intervals of President Donald Trump leading the Independence Day celebration and showboating patriotism in the name of nationalism.

Film - Pot - Voices - Traditions - United

The film dives into a melting pot of faces, voices, and traditions across the United States. It accosts us through vignettes of love, hate, bliss, trepidation, community, isolation, celebration, sorrow, and multitudes. The movie buoyantly sails through vistas and characters, such as a Wisconsin truck driver, a roller-skating gay Texas couple, a Californian porn star, and many more.

Samuel Nalband’s editing threads the narrative beads to draw tragic juxtapositions. It compels affection for the subjects–those that don’t lean toward bigotry–that come and go in the short time they speak. There’s a poignant parallel: a man who survived a brain tumor to walk the earth, followed by the testimony of a former bodybuilder dying of cancer. Those left out of prosperity bear a great sorrow, such as an incarcerated man who divulges that he is locked out of the Independence Day...
(Excerpt) Read more at: /Film
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