Nan Goldin’s Documentary Will Leave You Emotionally Wrecked

Nan Goldin in All the Beauty and the Bloodshed ( )

A few years ago, under the watchful eye of award-winning director Laura Poitras, artist Nan Goldin took on a clan of pharmaceutical billionaires in a hard-hitting, witty and visually stunning campaign. But be warned, the best documentary of the year will leave you emotionally wrecked.

Poitras is best known for Citizenfour, about whistleblower Edward Snowden who went head-to-head with the US government. Goldin takes on the Sackler family, whose company, Purdue Pharma, engineered and profited from the opioid crisis from United States. The great wealth they accumulated enabled the branches of the family involved in the company to spend millions on the arts, including in London, and thus elevate their status as great defenders of culture.

As in Citizenfour, the tension is generated by the fact that powerful people and institutions will do everything possible to protect their reputation. There is a lot at stake.

But what makes the film truly special is the way Poitras weaves Goldin’s story into the mix, moving from her own three-year addiction to OxyContin, to penetrating details about the tragedies surrounding Barbara Goldin, her sister. eldest, as well as her two best friends. , David Wojnarowicz and Cookie Mueller. He wears the fury that they are gone on his sleeve.

A twist in the story comes when we meet Goldin’s parents. Lillian and Hyman are so fragile that they are practically translucent. And when they talk about Barbara, they fall apart in silence. It is devastating to witness. Both seem to feel the weight of their loss, which makes the sequence involving three members of the Sacklers, confronted with the devastation that Purdue Pharma has caused, all the more impactful.

Even if you don’t know anything about Goldin’s groundbreaking photography and slideshows, you’ll be mesmerized by her gravelly voice, all-seeing countenance, and curly red hair (if she’s ever the subject of a biopic, Alia Shawkat would be). a great young Nan). and please, please, please let Frances McDormand be cast as Nan’s middle-aged self). In a word, she is a born movie star.

Investigative journalist Patrick Radden Keefe, who has been writing about the Sacklers for years, admits that when he met Goldin, he sponsored her. The Sacklers themselves surely underestimated her as well. There is no danger of that happening now. Goldin, one of the angriest women on the planet, has revealed herself to be a giant slayer. This complicated film explains who and what she is fighting for.

117 minutes, certified 18

In theaters from Friday

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