SXSW Film Review: She's the Best Thing in It

Meet the American acting treasure that is Mary Louise Wilson

If Ron Nyswaner had limited his debut doc to just celebrating the American acting treasure that is Mary Louise Wilson, that alone would be a joy and well worth seeing. Character actors of her gifts and skills are rare and getting rarer, and he deftly conveys Wilson's love of her art and mastery of it.

But the veteran screenwriter (Philadelphia, Ray Donovan) shrewdly weaves in commentary from Frances McDormand, Estelle Parsons, Tyne Daly, and other esteemed peers of Wilson's on the nature of their work, making this also a fascinating study of acting and the people who are drawn to it. And he follows Wilson on a journey to her hometown, New Orleans, to teach a class in acting for the first time. Her struggle to articulate and share the lessons of a lifetime, to connect her young charges with their feelings and themselves, give the film passion and immediacy, taking it far beyond the honorific bio and into the realm of drama. Nyswaner has given us an invaluable look at the efforts of a great artist to instill in a new generation of people driven to perform the truth that acting is the art of being human.

She's the Best Thing in It

Documentary Competition, World Premiere
Tuesday, March 17, 9:30pm, Alamo Lamar
Wednesday, March 18, 11:30am, Alamo Lamar

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