Everyday Activist - Ghosts of Sugar Land | Life Overtakes Me (Oscars 2020)

Posted on Friday, January 17, 2020 at 02:00 PM

Ghosts of Sugar Land | Life Overtakes Me (Oscars 2020)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

I read a comment online that Netflix was trying to buy Oscars by putting out more films than anyone else. Documentaries which used to be a place for new voices in independent filmmaking, now is commercialized like every other category. Watching Ghosts of Sugar Land and Life Overtakes Me, I completely understand the sentiment. Forty percent of the Oscars shortlist were Netflix documentaries that weren’t anywhere near as compelling as The White Helmets, Zion, Extremis or End Game.

A socially isolated youth becoming radicalized is hardly news anymore, especially in the United States. Looking at "Mark's" story arc in Ghosts of Sugar Land, being the only African American at school and having a distant relationship with his parents is a classic recipe for turning to other organizations for acceptance. In high school being part of the Muslim crowd was enough, but then in college he wanted to belong to something bigger, to make a difference defending his beliefs that gave him a sense of purpose and community. In the context of men expressing their feelings over their perceived failings concerning their friend is a unique way to portray a stereotypical theme. His friends cared about him enough to make a film, clinging to the belief of another explanation for their friend’s actions done in the name of Islam.

When Life Overtakes Me talks about a childhood stress response seen in Eastern European children whose parents are seeking asylum in Western European countries such as Sweden. Essentially, healthy children fall into a coma like state, usually as the family waits to find out if they can stay. If nothing else, I hope the film elicits a more compassionate response from Western Europeans around immigration issues. People fleeing violent circumstances want what many of us were born with, a safe environment to grow up and raise their own families. With a little support they can be just as productive as anyone else in the country.

Having independent filmmakers on the Oscar shortlist is great, but if only a select few can watch them, how can they have an impact? I have no idea how to watch St. Louis Superman or Learning to Skate in a Warzone. Netflix makes documentaries accessible to a wider audience, which might also explain its popularity. Close to a third of the documentary features are also on Netflix, American Factory, The Great Hack, Knock Down the House and The Edge of Democracy. Now that I’m feeling better, I’ll start working my way through the list as I continue Oscar coverage with the animated short films. 

Calgary Showtimes: Ghosts of Sugar Land > | Life Overtakes Me >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.