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The Independent Critic

Aimée Baker, Kate Mulgrew (Narrator), Raven Goodwin, Coco Jones
Vanessa Cicarelli, Jason Greer
Jaramy Connors
80 Mins.
Gravitas Ventures

 "She" Brings Vital Message to the Forefront 
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Every year, over 300,000 women go missing in the United States. There are currently over 2,600 Jane Does waiting to be identified. 

For years, award-winning author Aimée Baker researched thousands of women, diving into newspaper articles, police websites, web forums, and more as part of a journey that resulted in Doe, a collection of 50 poems bearing witness to the stories of missing and unidentified women in the United States as an act of remembrance and activism. The recipient of the Akron Poetry Prize and the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize, Doe has now resulted in the compelling documentary She co-directed by Vanessa Cicarelli and Jason Greer. 

Narrated by Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager, Orange is the New Black), She endeavors not to just celebrate Baker's acclaimed work but to complement it by diving into Baker's poetry and the stories of missing and unidentified women. She explores some of the cases in Doe by giving background of the events and the women. However, quite refreshingly, Doe is devoid of the names of perpetrators or their stories. 

Having screened at nearly two dozen film festivals and picked up several prizes along the way, She has been picked up by indie distributor Gravitas Ventures for a streaming distribution that brings the power of Baker's work and these stories to the wider audience that they both deserve. Mulgrew narrates the film with emotional resonance and transparency, an approach that blends beautifully with poetry reading by Raven Goodwin (The Station Agent, Lovely & Amazing) and Coco Jones (Bel-Air). 

Utilizing archival photos, abstract artistry, and Baker herself throughout the film, Cicarelli and Greer bring Baker's poems to life beautifully. This is perhaps most evident with the poem The Abduction Narrative, though it is evident throughout the film. The original score by Jackie McLean also hits all the right notes, emphasizing emotional honesty without ever becoming overly maudlin or manipulative. 

At its best, She is the kind of film that inspires one to take action on behalf of the U.S.'s missing and unidentified women. It's also a film that will have you scrambling to learn more about Baker and the remarkable effort that went into writing Doe. It's worth noting that for survivors, She may be a tad triggering at times with its honest, occasionally raw imagery and conversations. These are most definitely not easy conversations. They are, however, very necessary conversations. 

She is currently available via most streaming platforms from Gravitas Ventures. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic