Home Video Picks & Passes 02.14.21

Netflix and Amazon offerings are featured.

A new film focuses on carrying one another’s burdens.
A new film focuses on carrying one another’s burdens. (photo: Amazon)

Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020) — PICK

Herself (2020) — PICK

Two strong films from last year’s Sundance Film Festival are available for streaming, one on Netflix and one on Amazon.

Netflix has Dick Johnson Is Dead from documentarian Kristen Johnson (Cameraperson), an arrestingly personal, quirky record of the filmmaker’s relationship with her aging father. 

A psychiatrist succumbing to dementia, the elder Johnson is cheerfully frank about his condition and brings endless goodwill to his daughter’s project, which mixes ordinary documentary filmmaking with playful special-effects sequences imagining him succumbing to various violent deaths and also entering heaven, meeting Jesus, and being reunited with his wife.

On Amazon there’s Phyllida Lloyd’s Herself, about a battered Dublin woman named Sandra (Clare Dunne) going to desperate lengths to try to protect herself and her daughters from their abusive father.

The conflict is wrenchingly familiar; less uncommon is the generosity of people supporting Sandra in her hour of need. It’s an inspiring story about what can happen when we go to extraordinary lengths to carry one another’s burdens.

Bonus Pick: Also on Amazon: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, one of my top 42 films of the last 21 years (see the Jan. 17 issue and NCRegister.com).


CAVEAT SPECTATOR: Dick Johnson Is Dead: Staged, sometimes bloody mock-death sequences; much discussion of death and mortality. Teens and up. Herself: Graphic sequences of domestic violence; strong language. Mature viewing.