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The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)

TV-MA | | Documentary | 6 October 2017 (USA)
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This documentary uses never-before-seen footage and rediscovered interviews in a search for the truth behind the mysterious 1992 death of black transgender activist and Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson.

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4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kurt Wolfe ... Himself
Sue Yacka ... Herself
Catherine Shugrue Dos Santos ... Herself
... Herself - Crime-Victim Advocate
Marcus Maier ... Himself (archive footage)
... Himself (archive footage)
... Herself (archive footage)
Jean Michaels ... Herself - Marsha's Sister
Robert Michaels ... Himself - Marsha's Brother
Jimmy Camicia ... Himself - Marsha's Friend (archive footage)
Randolfe Wicker ... Himself - Marsha's Roommate (as Randy Wicker)
Joe Cooper ... Himself
James McShane ... Himself (as Capt. James McShane)
Sylvia Rivera ... Herself - Marsha's Friend (archive footage)
Karla Jay ... Herself - LGBT Movement Co-Founder
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Storyline

This documentary uses never-before-seen footage and rediscovered interviews in a search for the truth behind the mysterious 1992 death of black transgender activist and Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Life That Launched a Revolution. A Death That Remains a Mystery.

Genres:

Documentary

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TV-MA | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

6 October 2017 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Marsha P. Johnson: Really, everybody goes sooner or later. Tomorrow's not promised to anyone. I learned that in church when I was five years old. And I've never forgotten it. So, uh, every day counts.
[chuckles]
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Soundtracks

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
(uncredited)
Written by Wallis Willis
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User Reviews

 
Spaces
7 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

A triangular shaped metal sign on a pole near where Marsha Johnson's body was found is titled Queer Spaces and explains who she was and how she died. This sign says a lot about this film--spaces. So many spaces exist where we learn nothing about Marsha's life or spaces where files about her case have gone missing, spaces where we get a glimpse of a person's life in her 20's and then only a glimpse again when she is in much older (true of Sylvia, Victoria, and many others).

The compelling aspect of this documentary is the character study of the unflappable Victoria in her investigation and Sylvia Riviera, who hits the bottom and comes back to be a great activist. Both are more interesting than Marsha herself--at least what we learn of Marsha in this film. The scenes where Victoria shows us photos of herself when she was young on stage and Sylvia getting a job at a church are wonderful.

One big space is the lack of resources put into investigating the violence against trans-gendered people--Victoria's boss notes this toward the end. The spaces are the questions always left unanswered when someone dies without reason.

Basically, the movie's title is misleading. It's not really about Marsha, though she is a part of the larger story. It's about being trans-gendered in New York and how this has changed and not changed in the last 50 years.


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