Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins


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It would be hard to botch a documentary on Molly Ivins, the brilliant, no-bullshit Texas journalist whose charmingly caustic political commentary rattled even the cockiest lawmaker. But filmmaker Janice Engel manages to use Ivins’ life story—told more than a decade after her death—to go beyond the easy caricature of a fiery, beer-drinking feminist. Throughout Raise Hell, Ivins’ sharp, uncensored perspective on American politics feels almost prophetic: In clips from past interviews, Ivins warns about the creeping influence of money in politics, reminding listeners that the country belongs to the people and that politicians are simply the folks hired to “drive the bus.” Paired with NYT-bashing anecdotes and armadillo-related metaphors, Raise Hell exemplifies the critical role uncensored, honest criticism plays in a healthy democracy.

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Janice Engel