Owen Gleiberman
June 06, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
82 minutes
Limited Release Date
05/13/11
performer
Mary McDonagh Murphy, Mary Badham, Tom Brokaw, Rosanne Cash
distributor
First Run Features
genre
Documentary
We gave it a B+

Harper Lee hasn’t been interviewed in 47 years, but this meditation on her only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, puts you inside her skin. Via photos and testimonials, it captures Lee’s colloquial literary purity, her bond with Truman Capote, and her bravery in anticipating the civil rights era with her portrait of Deep South racism. It also shows you how personal the book was: Atticus Finch was based on Lee’s father, but the character who most embodied her wasn’t the tomboy Scout. It was Boo Radley, the sensitive freak who stayed in hiding. B+

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