DOC NYC 2021- “Anonymous Sister” Reveals the Power of Home Movie Footage: Film Capsule Review

The most powerful documentaries often make the world’s largest crises feel emotionally personal, and Anonymous Sister is no exception. Director Jamie Boyle uses nearly 30 years worth of interviews and home movies to recount the devastating effects the opioid crisis has had on her mother and sister.

The voices of journalists reporting on the developments of the national opioid crisis echo as personal footage of the Boyle family shows just how normal they all were before their struggle with Oxycotin. This slightly experimental pairing demonstrates the macro and micro effects of the prescription drug addiction in one fell swoop.

In many ways, Anonymous Sister is reminiscent of Garrett Bradley’s Time, a searing depiction of the American judicial system told through old family recordings. While there have been plenty of documentaries recounting the opioid epidemic, Boyle’s personal experience makes Anonymous Sister stand out from the crowd.

The Silver Lining

The camera makes you forget you’re there. It gives you a point of connection and a point of separation.

Susan Meiselas

Like the title suggests, director Jamie Boyle is largely absent from the narrative and remains an enigma throughout the documentary. However, her brief voiceover and the momentary insight into her life that is presented in the third act demonstrates how the opioid crisis can even damage the lives of those who were never addicted.

Anonymous Sister is a part of DOC NYC’s (Nov 10-28th) 2021 lineup. Click here to learn more about how you can purchase a ticket for this title (for a digital screening).

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