22 July, 2016

"Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town" Review - Macon Film Festival (**)

The titular, controversial sculpture of Sag Harbor, New York.

Four years before Angelina Jolie stunned the world on the 2012 Oscar Red Carpet with her bold, leggy pose, there was another pair of legs that caused quite a flurry of reactions and opinions. In 2008, eccentric art gallerists Janet Lehr and Ruth Vered erected a 16 foot tall, fiberglass sculpture of a pair of stocking-clad legs outside their home in the small, conservative town of Sag Harbor. Cue the controversy.

As residents of Sag Harbor themselves, directors Beatrice Alda and Jennifer Brooke explore their small town through interviews with the locals, gathering their opinions and comments on the scandalous sculpture while simultaneously capturing their unique personalities. But the problem with the film lies within these interviews themselves. They don’t create any sense of a narrative or direction; rather, the film dwells on the discussion of opinions from one townsperson to the next (and to the next, and to the next). And while the documentary was captivating at first, it quickly becomes a redundant conversation—and not a very interesting one at that.

Contrary to what the title suggests, “Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town” is not about a big issue in a small town, it’s about many big issues in a small town. A third of the way through the film, the conversation shifts away from the titular sculpture and Alda and Brooke begin to capture a deeper layer of issues among the idyllic Hampton town, including not-so-hidden racial prejudices as well as polarizing political ideologies. And while I applaud their efforts to highlight the unique voices of the many circles of society within Sag Harbor, the execution of the much-too-long list of interviewees paired with the unpolished, jump-cut editing made the film feel flat and stationary—never truly rising to the level of provocativeness and appeal of the leggy sculpture it featured.

2 out of 5 stars.

"Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town" screened at the 2016 Macon Film Festival as a part of the Documentary & LGBT competition with showings on Friday, July 22 at 5:00pm at the Douglas Theatre and Saturday, July 23 at 3:30pm at the Theater Macon.

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