FFF 2019 – Review: ALWAYS IN SEASON Is A Well-Meaning But Messy Documentary


Always in Season wastes its potentially very interesting premise on a poorly-executed and convoluted documentary watered down by subplots.
Entertainment Value
Technical Merit

Always in Season is a new documentary film directed by Jacqueline Olive. The movie explores the history of lynching of African-Americans in relation to a 2014 case in which a 17-year-old boy is found hanging from a swingset and his family claims it to be a lynching, not a suicide. It debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and played at the 2019 Florida Film Festival.

The film’s ultimate message is a positive one, but it is also one that could have been delivered in a much more concise and entertaining short. The movie bites off more than it can handle, trying to balance three different storylines rather than evaluating the main story with the level of depth it deserved. Had the film been a thirty to forty minute short about only the 2014 case, it could have been a strong awards contender. As is, the movie is going to get left in the dust.

It’s a shame that the film felt the need to incorporate subplots because the main story is so interesting. The appeal of true crime documentaries is on the rise as of late, so this movie very easily could have capitalized on that trend with a true story that didn’t need to be sensationalized to be fascinating. However, despite the fact that the story is interesting on its own, the film still doesn’t do a good enough job of exploring it. Only a brief amount of time is spent investigating the evidence in either direction.

One of the subplots is an attempt to tie the main story into the historical context in which it is rooted, and it largely fails at doing that. This story takes the form of various documents being read by Danny Glover. Although Glover’s voice is great and can make anything sound intriguing, not enough time is spent with this story for it to be of any particular impact. Suddenly, the movie will cut into Glover’s narration and you will almost forget that this was even a part of the film.

always in season grave

That being said, the most frustrating part of the movie is undoubtedly the subplot involving the group of people who get together every year to perform a reenactment of a famous historical lynching. The message of this part of the film is abundantly clear — you need to learn from mistakes made in the past — and delivered within the first minute or so you are with these people. These parts of the movie stretch on and on and you will begin to groan every time the film cuts to them.

Also frustrating is the fact that the filmmaker seemed to have no idea how to conduct a good documentary-style interview. The interviews in the movie felt more like a part of a news piece in which the subjects are delivering brief bits of information. The documentarian obviously wanted to get more out of them, like having them discuss their emotions, but this does not occur. Additionally, the interviews aren’t particularly well-shot, many of them being out of focus or poorly-framed.

On a technical level, the film was also rather disappointing. The editing of the movie feels overly choppy and disjointed. Since the film is trying to jump between these three storylines, the movie will often stop in the middle of a thought in one storyline and shift to the other. Perhaps the film thought that this would be a good way of building suspense, but it doesn’t work regardless. The movie is hectic, unsatisfying, and messy.

Overall, Always in Season was a very disappointing documentary. Although the story that inspires it has a lot of potential, the film is so frustratingly messy that it isn’t worth watching.

Always in Season is now playing at the Florida Film Festival.


Star Trek: Discovery – The Vulcan Hello (Sneak Peek 1)

In the series premiere, while patrolling Federation space, the U.S.S. Shenzhou encounters an object of unknown origin, putting First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) to her greatest test yet.

Summer Sizzle 2020 | The CW

Stream new episodes of your favorite shows free only on The CW! SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About The CW: Official YouTube Channel for The CW Network featuring the hit series Riverdale, as well as Black Lightning, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supernatural, The 100, Dynasty, In the Dark, and Roswell, New Mexico. Connect with…

Good Morning, Verônica | Official Trailer | Netflix

A serial killer with no limits. A system full of flaws and several hopeless victims. Nothing will stop Verônica's in fighting for justice. Good morning, Verônica is coming on October 1st. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 193 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series,…

Next on Episode 4 | Love Fraud | SHOWTIME

Richard Scott Smith’s past is continuing to unravel and may finally be catching up with him. Smith’s victims decide it’s time to take a road trip and stop Rick once and for all. Watch the finale this Sunday at 9/8c on SHOWTIME. #SHODocs #LoveFraud Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order…

The 100 | Season 7 Episode 14 | A Way Out Scene | The CW

Stream new episodes of The 100 Thursdays free only on The CW: http://go.cwtv.com/genHNDyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About THE 100: The human race returns, after a 97-year exile in space, to a wildly transformed Earth...only to discover that the human race had never truly left. Clarke found herself forced to lead a band of disposable juvenile delinquents…
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here