- 1 hr 37 min
"Ethel" is a 2012 documentary film that chronicles the life of Ethel Kennedy, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968. The film, directed by Ethel and Robert's daughter, Rory Kennedy, provides a personal and intimate look at the life of a woman who was key to one of America's most notable political dynasties. The film is structured in the form of a sit-down interview between Ethel and Rory, with Ethel recounting her experiences and memories throughout her life. The interview is intercut with archival footage, family photos, and home movies, providing a richly detailed portrait of Ethel's life, as well as the broader social and political context in which it unfolded.
The film covers a wide range of topics, from Ethel's childhood in Connecticut, to her marriage to Robert F. Kennedy, to her activism and philanthropy in the years following her husband's untimely death. Ethel emerges as a complex and dynamic figure, full of strength, humor, and grace.
One of the key themes of the film is family. Ethel speaks lovingly about her eleven children, and the film features extensive footage of them at various ages, from carefree playtime to the devastating moments after Robert's assassination. Family is also central to Ethel's own political beliefs; she speaks frequently about the importance of social justice and helping those in need, drawing on her Catholic faith and her own experiences of loss and compassion.
Another theme of the film is the tumultuous social and political context of Ethel's life. From the Civil Rights Movement to the Vietnam War to Robert's own presidential campaign, Ethel was at the center of some of the most pressing issues of the time. The film contextualizes her activism and philanthropy within this broader context, emphasizing the courage and conviction it took for her to fight for what she believed in, even in the face of great personal tragedy.
Another highlight of the film is the rare footage of Robert F. Kennedy, which provides a vivid reminder of his charisma and intelligence. His speeches, interviews, and moments with his family are all deeply affecting, and provide a powerful counterpoint to the sense of loss that permeates the film.
Throughout the film, Ethel emerges not only as an icon in her own right, but also as the heart and soul of a family that has made a lasting impact on American politics and culture. Her warmth, intelligence, and resilience shine through every frame, leaving the viewer with a sense of awe and admiration.
Overall, "Ethel" is a deeply moving and intimate portrait of an American icon. It provides a rare glimpse into the private life of one of the most prominent political families in history, and a reminder of the importance of family, faith, and social justice in America's past, present, and future.
Ethel is a 2012 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9.