Quantcast
subscriber help

artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Dreamcatcher documentary review: how to get off the streets

Dreamcatcher green light

An extraordinarily personal story about prostitution, one with a gentle but undeniable humanist force for hopeful understanding.
I’m “biast” (pro): I’m desperate for movies about women

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Fresh from its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival is veteran documentarian Kim Longinotto’s moving portrait of Brenda Myers-Powell and her Dreamcatcher Foundation, which supports women escaping from prostitution. Longinotto follows Myers-Powell on her nightly rounds in Chicago, offering help and hope to women — some of whom are still only girls — who are ready to get off the streets, and condoms and hugs for those who aren’t. There is no judgment in the film just as there is none in Myers-Powell’s approach, because she knows exactly what these women are suffering through: she was once there herself. This is one of the most extraordinarily personal stories about prostitution that I have ever seen, one that, with a gentle but undeniable humanist force, allows us to understand why a woman who hates the work might not be prepared to walk away from it even when offered assistance (which might seem like a contradiction). Myers-Powell’s conversations with working prostitutes and her counseling of at-risk high-school girls peel away the multiple nefarious layers of the cycles of violence and dehumanization that these women have been subjected to; some of the students tell of sexual abuse and rape from very young ages that was often denied, ignored, or even enabled by their mothers. This is a world — a microcosm for the culture at large — that hates women, that denies women’s humanity, and does such a good job of it that even women have internalized their lack of self-worth… and that’s the hurdle to be overcome. This is essential viewing for its depiction of one of the worst sorts of ways in which the world grinds girls and women down… and how, with love and attention, it can be endured and survived.


Dreamcatcher is touring the U.S. in late 2015. Please see the film’s official site for dates and cities.


green light 4 stars

Like what you’re reading? Sign up for the daily digest email and get links to all the day’s new reviews and other posts.

shop to support Flick Filosopher

Independent film criticism needs your support to survive. I receive a small commission when you purchase almost anything at iTunes (globally) and at Amazon (US, Canada, UK):

    
Dreamcatcher (2015)
US/Can release: Sep 11 2015
UK/Ire release: Mar 06 2015

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 15 (strong sex references, drug references, prostitution theme)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • aresh kuresh

    This seems like amazing documentary to watch. Good thing is that most of the streetwalkers are moving to work indoors because the cellular phones and internet websites, instead of pimps and pagers.

    Statistics in Chicago do not look very good in the past, but are getting better.

    An estimated 4400 prostitutes are active in Chicago on an average week, but there is no specified Red-light district in Chicago like the ones in Europe and Asia.

    Street prostitution areas in Chicago: North Ave – west before you get to the river, Far north on Lincoln Ave, West side on Madison street, Motel row on Stony Island.

    Source: http://www.wikiadult.org/wiki/Chicago

    But whatever, my opinion is that everyone of us should have a dream to catch!

    Love you all.

Pin It on Pinterest