By Dave Andrusko
Earlier this month, we wrote about what was then the forthcoming documentary, “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words.” The film, produced and directed by Michael Pack, opened in theatres today. You can view the trailer here.
“Pack managed to get the famously quiet jurist talking, guiding viewers on an intimate march through his remarkable life, starting in little Pin Point, Georgia, and ending where he sits today,” writes Emily Jashinsky for The Federalist. “Created Equal features two surprisingly fast hours of original interviews with Thomas and his wife Ginni, cut from more than 30 hours Pack spent interviewing them in a Virginia studio over a six-month period.”
The documentary had what TIME magazine described as an “intimate advanced screening” in Washington, D.C., on November 5. I was totally surprised when the TIME magazine review made a pass at being fair. But I was equally unsurprised yesterday when the New York Times clobbered “Created Equal”
But I was amazed by the Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday, who drolly admits she is “not the core audience” for the film. She is your garden variety liberal who swoons over pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
However her criticisms, and there are plenty, are tempered by a kind of grudging admiration: “But, even with those misgivings, I enjoyed ‘Created Equal’…
Thomas’s life story is riveting, from its roots in the Gullah culture of coastal Georgia to intergenerational psychodrama worthy of the ancient Greeks. Although I hadn’t changed my views of Thomas’s opinions by the time the movie ended, I felt I at least understood the man and his contradictions far better than when it began. And that made encountering “Created Equal” on its own terms a worthwhile, even rewarding exercise.
Hornaday, without ever by any means being wholly sympathetic to Thomas, then offers this fascinating observation:
I thought back to “RBG,” the adoring documentary about [Ruth Bader Ginsburg] that became the hit of the summer in 2018, and 2014’s “Anita,” about Anita Hill’s career-long fight for gender equity. If I could accept those uncritical films of two women I already admired, why shouldn’t I be able to find value in a similarly one-sided portrait of someone with whom I vehemently disagree?
And what Hornaday discovers, “however uncomfortably,” is that “even passionate disagreement can coexist with edification.”
If even the hyper-politicized Washington Post can find “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words” a worthy endeavor, Michael Pack can take special pride.