Mondays at Racine (2012) Poster

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My favorite of the nominees...
MartinHafer2 February 2013
Today I went to a special showing of the Academy Award Nominated Documentary Shorts. Surprisingly, all five of the nominees were very good. Not as surprising is that ALL were incredibly depressing films. After they ended, I wondered how many depressed folks see these five and then begin having suicidal thoughts! Yes, they were that depressing. Now having a depressing documentary is not a bad thing--often the films are about social problems and being depressing isn't bad. But ALL of them being depressing? Next year I wouldn't mind seeing at least one that isn't about old people waiting to die, cancer, homelessness, poverty or dying African children--like this year's crop! But, again, they ALL were quite good....

"Mondays at Racine" is a film whose title is a bit deceptive. PART of the film is about a beauty salon named 'Racine's'--and this is a marvelous part of the film. But it's not all about Racine or its owners but is more a story that BEGINS at Racine's and goes from there to follow the lives of two particular ladies with cancer--and also interviews, briefly, a few other folks with cancer.

Apparently, once a month (on a Monday), Racine's beauty salon in New York opens its doors exclusively to ladies undergoing cancer treatment--and it's all free. The ladies who own the shop saw their own mother struggle with cancer and her feeling ugly when her hair fell out. So, now they work through this by helping other women in similar situations to feel beautiful, loved and accepted. It truly is marvelous what they are doing.

But there are also two women you meet here who form a bond--which is something what wouldn't normally occur as they are different races and ages. But, their dealing with cancer brings them together--and their life stories end up being very similar BUT also very different.

The bottom line is that the film is incredibly sad but uplifting at the same time. I appreciated that the ending offered a lot of hope--too many of the documentary shorts this year didn't. Also, whether or not you've had cancer, you will most likely enjoy or at least respect this incredibly well-made film. My friend and I both cried during the film--one of us beat cancer and the other never had the disease. Well worth seeing--just have a few tissues nearby!! It is my favorite of the five nominees and I think the winner will be either this film or "Open Heart". I'll report back to post the winner when it's announced.

By the way, I really want to commend this film (as well as "Kings Point"), as it took years to make. They didn't just introduce the characters and end it at that but followed them--which REALLY made the film come to life.
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Touching and real
Horst_In_Translation13 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"Mondays at Racine" is a 39-minute live action documentary from 2012, so this one is already over 5 years old and it brought writer and director Cynthia Wade her second Oscar nomination and she was already a winner when this one was released. Like many other documentary shorts, this one we have here is produced by HBO. It focuses on a certain barber shop that specialize on shaving the heads of female cancer patients. I think they handled that part well as it is essential to the film. Losing your hair is (especially for women) always a defining decision and process and it means that they will step up to cancer that tehy decide when their hair is gone. They really got that message through of how special it was for each of the women we see in here. Besides that, it shows us the lives and loves of some of those female cancer patients who visit(ed) this barber shop. This is the place that united them, even if I must say I never really felt the significance of said place, which may be the only issue I somehow had with this film. Then again, it was maybe still the right decision to focus on the customers and not those running the place as honestly you cannot get in that much in under 40 minutes and the cancer patient stories are what matters more without a doubt compared to the employees' take on their profession. At the very end, there is some happy, some unhappy and I also liked that the film is not scared of graphic depictions like we see a womans naked upper body after she had her breasts removed. No taboos here and that is a good thing. It is so difficult these days to findInocente, the Oscar winner from that category back then, so i cannot really say who I think would have been the most deserving winner, but I think that "Mondays at racine" would have made for a good winner and it is definitely closer to a ****/***** than to a **/*****. It has some nice heart, touching stories and a subject that still feels oh so relevant today and will do so in the coming decades and (hopefully not) centuries until we finally find that cancer cure. Watch this one, I definitely give it a thumbs-up.
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Fortunately I have no experience with this so far...
AlsExGal5 September 2018
... for one, no cancer (yet), for another reason my hair looks like something that would grow on a chia pet. Two sisters on Long Island who own a beauty shop reserve one day a month to cater exclusively to cancer patients. They can have their heads shaved in preparation for chemotherapy so they don't just have to watch it drop out, and they can do so in a supportive environment.

The story shifts very quickly from the two sisters to two particular patients, very different in background and age, but alike in their struggle with breast cancer. The younger woman fears that her cancer treatment will put the brakes on her and her husband's efforts to adopt a child they have been fostering. The other woman is an older (age 59) African American who has been married to her husband for forty years and has been dealing with metastatic breast cancer for 17 years - and she is tired of it. Her husband feels let down by God because so many people in their church said God would heal her, but the struggle just goes on.

It's a short film - just about 40 minutes in length, but it was a really good film about women having to not only face their own mortality, but having to face a disease that changes their view of their own body and changes their relationships with their families, sometimes for the worse.

There was a segment that made me smile involving a couple that appeared to be in their 60s that were very open about discussing their avid sex lives after cancer.

This is well worth your time.
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Much too much
velhosorriso15 January 2014
This 2012 HBO documentary, directed and co-produced by wonderful Cynthia Wade, is much too graphic for my taste. Understandably a movie about cancer would have sad patches, however, this upsetting story is told with piercing shots that invade the subjects' privacy. Strikes me as a sort of extension of a reality TV show. Best attribute was the music by Max Avery Lichtenstein. The sisters, Cynthia and Rachel, are also bright spots in a very dark world. Editing was sometimes choppy, like when one of the women returns from the hospital after having a double-mastectomy. However, I found the interchange between another woman and her physician instructive ~ illustrating how a doctor may try to change a patient's mind about terminating treatment.

Given the topic and the fact that the content, at times, turned my stomach, it's certainly not a film to enjoy with a box of popcorn and soda.
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