Variety’s Robert Koehler raves about the French doc, Beloved:
Lovely, extremely heartfelt film helps redefine the term “homemovie” as the director examines the sad, multilayered life of his grandmother Therese, who died of tuberculosis at 36. Desplechin once again demonstrates his capacity for turning anything into a cinematic moment, and accomplishes what many viewers might wish they had done with their own relatives. Tube buyers will lead the request line for this gentle, human document.
Yet, John Anderson has no kind words for Madonna’s I Am Because We Are (reminds me of the Colbert book, I Am, America, and So Can You – I think Madonna pays a tiny price, tiny, for staying out of touch with TV):
More famous for her personal reinventions than her music (or certainly her acting), Madonna now has apparently chosen to morph into Sally Struthers. For all its noble intentions, “I Am Because We Are” is little more than a longform PSA about the horrors of life in AIDS-ridden Malawi, one that asks many questions without providing answers — except, of course, the ministrations of a multimillionaire, and whatever one can donate via her website. Producer-writer’s celebrity might generate some ticket sales, but wide exposure was never in the cards, not will it be, unless the doc gets rear-projected during Madonna’s next concert tour.
Ouch. The title actually is, according to Wikipedia, “from Desmond Tutu‚Äôs (famous Archbishop from Cape Town, South Africa) words. ‘Ubuntu’ is an idea present in African spirituality that says ‘I am because we are’ – or we are all connected, we cannot be ourselves without community, health and faith are always lived out among others, an individual‚Äôs well being is caught up in the well being of others.”