Sherman's March

Watch Sherman's March

"An improbable search for love"
  • UR
  • 1986
  • 2 hr 38 min
  • 7.2  (2,676)

Sherman's March is a documentary film from 1985 directed by filmmaker Ross McElwee. This film is named after General William Sherman's historic march through Georgia during the American Civil War. McElwee's mission in this documentary is to trace Sherman's path through the South to try and understand the area better. The documentary was awarded numerous prizes, including the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary, and was praised for its innovative take on the documentary form.

The movie is a personal narrative that explores McElwee's search for love, his pursuit of career, and the twists and turns of life. It all starts out as a project to document the effects of Sherman's infamous March on the South throughout the Civil War. McElwee travels through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina interviewing historical figures, locals, and relatives. He also traces his own path and attempts to come to terms with his own life and what he could still achieve.

McElwee chose Sherman's March as the backdrop of this narrative, as it was a time when the South experienced massive upheavals, both politically and socially. Ross McElwee himself narrates the documentary, recounting his own romantic misadventures, a heartbreak, failures of his documentary projects, and his search for the meaning of life.

As the documentary progresses, McElwee meets a host of fascinating characters who provide insight into the South's culture and history. They recount the events of Sherman's March and their own experiences of love and heartbreak. Among them are McElwee's former flames, like Pat, an eccentric physicist who becomes the subject of a hilarious subplot. Also featured are his own family members, including his aging mother, who discusses her own experiences of love and loss.

The documentary relies on McElwee's candid conversations with the people he meets on his journey. He asks them about everything from their love lives, the Civil War, and the arts. The film is shot in a free-form, improvisational style, emphasizing the importance of spontaneity in documentary filmmaking. Alongside McElwee's interviews and conversations, the film also benefits from its extensive use of archival footage and historical photographs. McElwee also makes use of his own footage, which he shot years before he embarked on the project.

The footage is often whimsical and humorous, yet it also deals with serious issues such as Southern feminism, the black movement, nuclear war, and art. One segment, for instance, involves a group of artists whose installation art reflects the lingering effect of the War on the South. Another segment discusses the experiences of African Americans in the South, whose history has largely been ignored by America.

McElwee's documentary is not a traditional "talking head" type of documentary, but rather a series of conversations and vignettes stitched together. Ultimately, through Sherman's March, Ross McElwee does manage to find something deeper. He looks into the idea of romantic love and uses this as a metaphor to examine the broader themes of the Civil War and its residual impact on contemporary society.

In conclusion, the film provides engrossing insights into not only the history of the South but also of universal themes such as love and finding oneself. Sherman's March is an absorbing and fascinating exploration of one man's journey in search of a deeper understanding of both himself and the history of the South.

Sherman's March is a 1986 documentary with a runtime of 2 hours and 38 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2.

Sherman's March
Where to Watch Sherman's March
Sherman's March is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Amazon Prime. Some platforms allow you to rent Sherman's March for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (2,676)