Review: RAISE HELL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS Is An Interesting Doc About A Fascinating Woman

FIRST IMPRESSION

Though it isn't quite as deep as it could have been, Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins is nonetheless an enjoyable, important, and charming documentary.
Directing
Entertainment Value
Technical Merit

Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins, directed by Janice Engel, is a new documentary telling the story of the eponymous female trailblazer. A fascinating portrait of a groundbreaking figure in a dying medium, this film manages to be both entertaining and important, largely thanks to Ivins’s larger-than-life persona.

As a liberal journalist, and a female one to boot, in a highly conservative state, Ivins was a tremendously important figure in her day. Although she is the very definition of an unsung heroine, this documentary should be very effective in making her name well-known. In an era of declining journalistic integrity and a decrease in the relevance of print media, it is important for us to remember the good that can come about from this medium.

Obviously, there is a very strong political edge to the movie. Ivins was very active in taking on the status quo, which is what made her such a controversial figure. Although the film doesn’t quite pack the punch that it could, it does a decent enough job of highlighting some of the issues to which she devoted her effort.

That said, the film does emphasize the importance of the fact that she was a woman doing these things at that time in that place. More than a few segments of the movie address the sacrifices that Ivins made in her life, particularly not being able to become a mother, in order to devote herself fully to her work. These parts feel the most personal, and as such, are also the most effective.

raise hell newsroom
Molly Ivins at the New York Times in RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS, a Magnolia Pictures release. © Molly Ivins Collection, Briscoe Archives. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

There is also quite a lot of humor to be found in the film, mostly because Ivins had a great sense of humor, and her personality comes across through the interviews and recordings of her speeches. Her political statements are particularly humorous, as she liked to poke fun at and even sometimes outright ridicule her targets in a way that is entertaining to watch.

Thanks to both the humor and the fact that Ivins is such a compelling subject, this movie is sure to be an entertaining watch for most audiences. Texans will likely enjoy the film most, as they are most likely to be familiar with Ivins and her work before seeing the movie, but even if you are unfamiliar with who she is, the film will make you love her in a brisk hour and thirty minutes.

On a technical level, the movie’s execution is quite effective. Since Ivins unfortunately passed away in 2007, the film has to rely predominantly on pre-existing archive footage and interviews to tell her story. Still, despite these challenges, Engel is able to make a movie that feels thoroughly personal. Unlike most documentaries that feature a deceased subject, Raise Hell doesn’t feel like it gets too caught up in paying tribute to its central figure. Instead, we get an earnest portrait of who she was and see her impact on the world in a more natural way.

Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins is a very enjoyable and well-made documentary. Even if you don’t know a thing about the eponymous Texan journalist, you will still be charmed by her personality and accomplishments.

Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins opens in theaters on August 30.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Krystal’s Most Fearless Moments | On Becoming a God in Central Florida | SHOWTIME

Krystal Stubbs will stop at nothing to get what she wants! Starring Kirsten Dunst. Catch new episodes Sundays at 10/9c on SHOWTIME. #OnBecomingAGod Subscribe to the Showtime channel for more clips: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: http://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ Get SHOWTIME merchandise now: http://sho.com/store_yt_showtime Get more SHOWTIME: Follow: https://twitter.com/SHO_Network Like: https://www.facebook.com/showtime Instagram: https://instagram.com/showtime/ Website: http://www.sho.com/

Snowfall | Inside Season 3: What Might Have Been | FX

It was an opportunity to tell the same story through a different lens. Get an INSIDE LOOK at how the creators and cast navigated Franklin’s alternate path in the season finale. Subscribe now for more Snowfall clips: http://bit.ly/SubscribeFX In Season 3 of Snowfall, crack cocaine is spreading like wildfire through Los Angeles. Local police fight…

Next on Episode 2 | Murder in the Bayou | SHOWTIME Documentary Series

Four more victims are discovered and a journalist becomes intrigued. Streaming now on SHOWTIME. #ShoDocs #MurderInTheBayou Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: http://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ Get SHOWTIME merchandise now: http://sho.com/store_yt_showtime Get more SHOWTIME: Follow: https://twitter.com/SHO_Network Like: https://www.facebook.com/showtime Instagram: https://instagram.com/showtime/ Website: http://www.sho.com/ Based on a best-selling book, this five-part true crime docu-series…

Next on Episode 6 | On Becoming a God in Central Florida | SHOWTIME

Krystal rubs elbows with the upper crust. Cody (Théodore Pellerin) makes a surprising business proposal. Ernie (Mel Rodriguez) finds his rhythm as a recruiter and celebrates with pizza. Starring Kirsten Dunst. Catch new episodes Sundays at 10/9c on SHOWTIME. #OnBecomingAGod Subscribe to the Showtime channel for more clips: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: http://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ…

‘They Were Wrong’ Ep. 1 Official Clip | Murder in the Bayou | SHOWTIME Documentary Series

This five-part docu-series investigates the unsolved murders of eight women in and around Jennings, Louisiana. Streaming now on SHOWTIME. #ShoDocs #MurderInTheBayou Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: http://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ Get SHOWTIME merchandise now: http://sho.com/store_yt_showtime Get more SHOWTIME: Follow: https://twitter.com/SHO_Network Like: https://www.facebook.com/showtime Instagram: https://instagram.com/showtime/ Website: http://www.sho.com/ Based on a best-selling book,…
Avatar
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.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here