Metro Weekly

Through Thick & Thin

Reel Affirmations 2008

Review by Tom Avila

Rating: starstarstarstar (4 out of 5) [Critic’s Pick!]
Saturday, 10/25/2008, 1:00 PM
Feature presentation, $10 at Shakespeare Theatre’s Harman Center for the Arts

FOR A SUBJECT so prevalent in so many debates and disagreements, it’s amazing how narrow discussions of immigration and its consequences remain. To listen to the talking points of too many politicians and ”man-on-the-street” interviewees, immigration begins and ends with Mexicans and it begins and ends with low-wage, anonymous jobs in the hospitality and construction industries.

Through Thick and Thin brings to light a largely unexplored and under-examined aspect of both immigration and the equally controversial topic of federal marriage rights for same-sex couples. The documentary tells the stories of seven bi-national couples where one is an American citizen and the other is either living abroad or struggling to maintain their ability to stay in the U.S.

The movie unfolds in a straightforward and uncluttered fashion. Shots of everyday life — making dinner, timing trans-Atlantic telephone calls, a birthday party — are interspersed with intelligent and thoughtful discussions with the film’s subjects.

What’s notable about Through Thick and Thin is how unsentimental it is, and that’s an incredibly good thing. Director Sebastian Cordoba ignores the vogue of documentary filmmaker as participant in the action and allows his subjects to live their lives around his lens. Emotion comes not from a director screaming through his camera demanding the audience agree with his point of view, but from the situations the various couples have found themselves in. It’s the kind of documentary that makes its point through the strength of its own content, and not the manipulations of the maker.

This is an important documentary bringing a critical new voice to the political table. Here’s hoping that it succeeds in making itself heard above the din.

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Through Thick & Thin

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