Anthem | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Anthem

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It's easy to see why this movie is a little too long. It must have been frustrating for filmmakers Shainee Gabel and Kristin Hahn to make only one movie out of all the exciting footage they got on their trek across America. Many of the women's experiences were recorded by cinematographer Bill Brown, though the movie--an array of people and places that encourages American audiences to see the nation with tourists' eyes--obscures this fact, almost suggesting that the camera we see the women take in and out of the trunk of their car is somehow capable of taking pictures of itself. Gabel and Hahn's trip includes meetings with unknown and well-known Americans: a woman who may have waited on them at a diner, a young man who pumped their gas, and people who are so famous the freshness of their responses to the filmmakers' questions about the notion of an American dream is often shocking. I won't name any of these celebrities, because the surprise I experienced as each figure turned up, agreeing to brief or long sessions--one spent a week with the two women--accounted for much of my enjoyment of the movie. Many of the ultrafamous divulge ideas and insights even the chattiest wouldn't tell a reporter, their sincerity demonstrating a sense of responsibility they believe comes with their status. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday, December 12, 7:00 and 9:15; Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14, 2:30, 4:45, 7:00, and 9:15; and Monday through Thursday, December 15 through 18, 7:00 and 9:15; 773-281-4114.

--Lisa Alspector

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited film still.

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