Midsummer in Newtown | Chicago Reader

Midsummer in Newtown

In this well-intentioned documentary (2016), a New York theater director stages a children's theater production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Newtown, Connecticut, one year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. The premise is that art can help to heal a community, and while it certainly seems to lift the spirits of those involved, the movie is strangely innocuous. Filmmaker Lloyd Kramer (Liz & Dick) delivers powerful vignettes involving three families—two with children in the play, one mourning a child who died in the shooting—but shies away from such issues as the plague of gun violence and the rise of angry young men in America. Accounts of the shooting and its aftermath are counterbalanced with lighter moments in which the children rehearse, but the tonal shifts are often jarring.

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