THE PUBLIC – A Review by Cynthia Flores
The new film The Public from writer/director Emilio Estevez is a must see! It has it all, humor, heart, and a great ensemble cast. I have been waiting since his 2010 inspiring film The Way, which he also wrote and directed, for his next movie because I was so impressed with his storytelling talent. It was worth the wait.
The Public tells the story of downtown Cincinnati librarians Stuart Goodson (Emilio Estevez) and Myra (Jena Malone) who see a lot of funny and odd things on their shifts at the library. There’s a mayoral race going on between the slick and uncaring district attorney Josh Davis (Christian Slater) and a local pastor and civil rights leader. It’s also the dead of winter and homeless people are freezing to death overnight because there’s not enough room at the shelters for them. Since the local homeless populations have increasingly turned to this library for daytime shelter, not just for relief from the elements but also for a relatively safe, calm environment and access to the internet a plot is hatched by frequent visitor Jackson (Michael Kenneth Williams). He is the homeless man who leads the “Occupy sit-in“ idea and convinces Stuart to join in. The group of homeless people just want a safe, warm place for the evening. They are requesting from the powers that be that the library is turned into a temporary shelter for the run of the cold spell.
What starts as a peaceful sit-in, quickly escalates into a face-off with the police lead by their crisis negotiator Detective Bill Ramstead (Alec Baldwin). He’s dealing with his own personal problems as he and his ex-wife are searching for their missing drugged-up son. So, he has no tolerance for this homeless insurrection. It doesn’t help that the media paints the sit-in as a hostage situation to bolster their ratings.
The Public does a great job shining a light on important issues like homelessness, police overuse of force, and the media with its bend towards sensationalizing information. All the while the movie still entertains and touches the heart. I love this film, and it has started my list of Best Films for 2019. I hope you’ll seek out this movie and get a conversation started about what’s going on in this country right now. I give this film an A+ rating.
Directed by Emilio Estevez
Written by Emilio Estevez
Selig Rating A+
Running Time 2h 2min
Limited to Wide Release April 5th: The Angelika Film Center and Cafe Dallas & Plano, Mesquite 30 Theaters, Legacy 24, Stonebriar 24, Grapevine Mills 30, Southlake Town Square 14, Hickory Creek 16, Cinepolis Euless 12
Starring: Jena Malone, Taylor Schilling, Christian Slater, Emilio Estevez
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.