Variety logoVariety, the entertainment industry daily, has a complimentary review this morning of Traces of the Trade.

The reviewer, John Anderson, describes Traces as a “courageous scab-ripper of a tale … raising very troubling questions about what it means to be black or white in America.”

Anderson is unflinching in discussing the difficulty of the subject matter and of the approach which Katrina took, asserting that the film’s “toughness is its own greatest obstacle.” But he also praises Katrina’s handling of that subject matter, noting of the film’s observations on the horrors of slavery, for instance, that “to Browne’s credit, these reflections are presented neither sanctimoniously or dismissively, but as evidence of a real desire to get at the truth — an elusive quality.”

Anderson concludes his review by observing that “the most interesting aspect of the film is this or that family member’s inability to grasp the inherent advantages of being white.” He specifically cites the example of my father, who is heard in the film saying that his admission to Harvard in the late 1950s was not dependent on growing up in a white family. (My father actually sees this issue as being much more nuanced.)

Acknowledging “the subtle, often unstated advantages of being white” in this society, Anderson argues that this “is the slippery issue Browne chases” in the film, “always provocatively.”

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