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FILM OF THE WEEK Doing time the hard way

MARIA DUARTE recommends a powerful documentary on a woman who spent two decades attempting to secure her husband's release from jail

Directed by Garrett Bradley

GARRETT BRADLEY'S eye-opening film is an indictment of the US justice system as it explores the effects of imprisonment on a black Afro- American family. It's seen through the eyes of its remarkable matriarch, Fox Rich, who raised her children single-handedly when her husband was imprisoned.

In a moment of desperation, Fox and her husband Rob took part in a botched bank robbery in the 1990s that resulted in him being imprisoned for 60 years without parole, an unprecedented sentence. She served three-and-a-half years, having accepted a 12-year plea deal which her husband refused to entertain.

Combining Fox's video diaries, which she filmed so her husband wouldn't miss out on seeing his sons growing up, along with snapshots of the family's daily lives including court dates, updates from lawyers and visits to the prison, the film paints an incredible picture of undying hope and love.

Shot in black and white, it crosses back and forth from the past to the present, with Fox and her sons providing the commentary throughout. It is a little confusing to keep up with the changing timelines and to keep track of the youngsters, while the film offers few details about the robbery itself, which might explain the hefty jail sentence.

It is an extraordinary journey of a young mother transforming into a formidable businesswoman and campaigner for justice and carrying on relentlessly after suffering continuous knock-backs year after year, while coping with six boys growing up without a father.

How anyone could remain hopeful for 20 years is a testament to Rich, whose unwavering love, resilience and belief in being reunited with her husband is an inspiration.

On Amazon Prime Video.



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