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Review: Love and Diane

Jennifer Dworkin assembles her film with great articulation and a human compassion worthy of Frederick Wiseman.

3.5
Love and Diane
Photo: Women Make Movies

Jennifer Dworkin’s documentary Love and Diane follows a recovering crack addict and her troubled daughter as they navigate the obstacles of joblessness, parenthood, welfare, and public housing. Though shot entirely in and around New York City, the distress cataloged in this 155-minute epic is archetypal of any human tragedy. Diane Hazzard struggles to keep her family together despite the resentment of her daughter Love, whose son Donyaeh was born HIV-positive and subsequently removed from the home after one of Love’s fits of anger. Remarkably, Dworkin avoids taking easy pot shots at any number of government organizations that may or may not be directly irresponsible for contributing to the Hazzard family’s constant grief; instead, she reveals the family’s tragic legacy of pain and their relentless struggle to conquer personal demons. Among the many tragedies Diane has had to persevere: her mother’s abandonment, the alcohol-related deaths of twin siblings, her brother’s demise from AIDS, and her oldest son’s suicide. Dworkin assembles Love and Diane with great articulation and a human compassion worthy of Frederick Wiseman. Just as patient are the legion of lawyers, therapists, teachers, and social workers struggling to help Love win her child back. The film’s tearful finale reveals that as difficult as the system may be to navigate for the underprivileged, forgiveness and determination were Love and Diane’s ways to bliss. Love and Diane received its U.S. premiere at this year’s New York Film Festival and is still without a distributor.

Cast: Love Hazzard, Diane Hazzard, Donyaeh Hazzard Director: Jennifer Dworkin Distributor: Women Make Movies Running Time: 155 min Rating: NR Year: 2002

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