TIFF 2023: ‘Origin’

By: Jolie Featherstone

Origin is Ava DuVernay’s latest film and it is, quite simply, a masterpiece.

An epic on a personal and a theoretical scale, Origin brings to life Isabel Wilkerson’s New York Times bestselling book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.  The film is innovatively structured: blending biographical elements of Wilkerson’s life and depicting her research as real-world experiences in an almost vignette-like fashion.

Origin follows Wilkerson on a journey of rigorous research to chisel her thesis out of an abstract idea, a journey that takes her across the globe.  Wilkerson pushed forward on this important work while privately grappling with personal tragedy.  King Richard’s Aunjanue Ellis is nobility personified in her portrayal of Wilkerson.  She embodies the role with regal gravitas. 

Origin galvanizes us.  It asks us to interrogate our societal framework and reject complacency, while recognizing our humanity.



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