‘Origin’ Is Hardly Deserving of the Title “Movie”

The social media age has created issues in being able to discern a great film from a bevy of compelling, abbreviated ideas that don’t make a single cohesive thought. Complex truths are too often discussed through bursts of cursory statements, leading to unrelated discussions. Many movies and TV shows have been born out of this era. Unfortunately, this has resulted in many movies struggling to be considered suitable for quality art. Filmmakers like Ava DuVernay have struggled with putting her complex narratives into her work.

One such recent film is DuVernay’s “Origin,” an adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s 2020 bestseller “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.” The film aims to showcase a complex global theory on race and the caste system. However, “Origin” has been critiqued for trying to do too much and highlight already-understood issues without moving the conversation forward. The film is based on a book of labyrinthine theory and struggles to have a coherent storyline. While ambitious, the film lacks a fully formed character and story.

“Origin” explores multiple subplots involving real-life couples involved in resistance in 1930s Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South. These stories are captivating and highlight the film’s potential. However, the film’s struggle with putting it all together suggests that perhaps a documentary format would have been more effective in portraying the complex ideas presented in Wilkerson’s book. Despite the film’s interesting premise, it fails to address the biggest issues found in the filmmaker’s previous work.

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