Filmmaker Jon Matthews takes a loving and honest look at his family through the lens of the healthcare and welfare systems, beauty pageants, guns, drugs, theft, and how each is used in an attempt to survive. Brandy's unembellished strength and E.J.'s heartfelt sensitivity shine through in their struggle to heal their daughter Makala of leukemia and keep her on point in contesting for Little Miss West Virginia, all while striving to stay above the poverty line. Matthews examines the nature of addiction through substance abuse, suicides, and the grip-hold of mass-marketed consumer goods, as well as the journey to living without these substitutes for a secure tether to life. Antithetically, sleep appears here as something to avoid in order to get by, whether through Chad high on Opana fighting a coma or Brandy stitching a winning costume for Makala. The urges of a body in motion are highlighted for every person in the film, translating across a spectrum of health and consciousness as the...
Audrey Dundee Hannah