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Article

American Dream

Posted on

American Dream

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
director:
Barbara Kopple
genre:
Documentary

We gave it an A

Barbara Kopple, director of the 1976 coal-miner documentary Harlan County, U.S.A., returns to the union fold with this searing, blow-by-blow account of the 1985 Hormel meat packers’ strike in Austin, Minn. American Dream shuns oversimplified characterizations of heroes and villains, placing less emphasis on the conflict between labor and management than on dissension among factions within the union itself: those who persist in fighting for a just cause against those who come to realize that their just cause is doomed. Winner of the 1991 Academy Award for Best Documentary, this clear-eyed, relentlessly depressing portrait prompts questions that go beyond this one strike to the very viability of the American dream. If this film leaves any room for hope, it’s in the salt-of-the-earth decency, courage, and thoughtfulness of the workers on both sides of this struggle. A

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