A mawkish documentary on domestic violence that never asks tough questions
Defending Our Lives, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject, interviews four abused women convicted of murdering their abusers. Desperate for b-roll, it includes some startling statistics from a conference on domestic violence. It takes its time in establishing an atmosphere where murder seems like the only outlet these abused women had. Certainly, some of these women have endured real torture, but the directors ask no hard questions about these women each having taken a life. The women provide little or no background information on their upbringing or personal history, so the film establishes them only as victims and nothing more. Zooming in on tears as they fall freely in each interview, it gets grating when one woman complains she was a victim of her abuser and now she's a victim of the system that has imprisoned her for murder.
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