‘In “Newtown,” Understated Eloquence but No Peace’
‘NYT Critics’ Pick’
New York Times
“Newtown” is as hard a documentary to watch as you’re likely to encounter. It needed to be; anything less would have been too dismissive of one of the most traumatic American tragedies in recent memory.
— Newtown (@newtowndoc) October 6, 2016
The film, by Kim A. Snyder, revisits the shooting in December 2012 that left 20 students and six staff members dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The focus, though, is on the aftermath — not merely the initial reaction, but the lingering effects on families, teachers, emergency medical workers.
This film isn’t content to be merely a “never forget” reminder; it wants to convey just how deep and lasting the pain is, from this attack and, by extension, many others.
Those who relate their stories talk repeatedly about how the shooting was so beyond the scope of anyone’s experience that there was no template for how to respond or recover, whether for parents who lost children, children who lost playmates or staff members who eventually had to return to work. There is a real sense of everyone still being at sea almost four years later. This film is not about people who have made peace with what happened or learned how to move on.
That makes it must viewing for the audience least likely to watch it: Lawmakers and others who failed to use the shooting as a catalyst for reasonable gun control measures. The film isn’t a strident piece of advocacy — the gun control issue is just a small part of it — but its sentiments are clear, underscored with heartache eloquently expressed.
H/t Vivian Lee