SXSW Film

Interviews and reviews

SXSW Film

Manhattan, Kansas

D: Tara Wray

While her daughter was young, Evie Wray was a cosmic wanderer: 20 houses in 20 years, no job, a family bed, homeschooling. She calls it "unusual parenting." Daughter Tara, all grown up and moved to New York City, recalls her mother's agitation, her threats of suicide, and "taking care of the person who should have been taking care of me." In her first film, Tara Wray returns to Kansas to confront Evie, who's now living in a "retreat house" owned by a religious cult and searching for the Geodetic Center of North America. Painfully intimate, Manhattan, Kansas plumbs a contentious mother-daughter relationship, showing a family's journey from estrangement to reconciliation and posing lingering questions about the line between mental illness and unconventionality. It's an honest look about growing up and letting go, and while its technique is a bit raw, it's everything a personal documentary can and should be.

Manhattan, Kansas was the runner-up in the Emerging Visions Audience Awards.

2pm, Dobie

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