» » Home of the Brave (2004)

Short summary

Documentary on the civil rights activist, Viola Liuzzo, who was murdered in 1965 as she campaigned for black suffrage in Selma, Alabama, and its effect on her family.
Documentary on the civil rights activist, Viola Liuzzo, who was murdered in 1965 as she campaigned for black suffrage in Selma, Alabama, and its effect on her family.

Trailers "Home of the Brave (2004)"

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: BlackBerry
    This was a compelling and emotional documentary, and woke me up to how white folks involved themselves in the rights movement at great personal risk. Viola Liuzzo really "didn't have a dog in this fight" yet despite her family obligations felt strongly enough about the injustices in the South to get involved. I met Mary Stanton, the author of "From Selma to Sorrow", the book the documentary was based upon at the premiere showing. I was so impressed with her passion she had for Viola's untold story and the way she researched the material, I bought and am reading the book. The documentary took a slightly different tact than the author, in that much of the film was seen through the eyes of Viola's children, especially her daughter Mary. This added a good deal of human interest.
  • comment
    • Author: Thomeena
    This is a story which is long overdue! Director Paola Di Florio does an excellent job of telling this riveting story. It is a real eye opener to all fellow Americans who look to our government to serve and protect. The one thing I have learned from this story is to "QUESTION EVERYTHING!!!. Every American citizen should see this film, it is a film that tells a story of a woman dedicated to truly living the constitution of the United States, and loving all human beings regardless of race or creed. Her family is truly blessed with the beautiful legacy left by their mother. I feel the perspectives given by the four grown children in the film, bring a very personal aspect to the film, and help the viewers understand exactly who Viola Liuzzo really was.
  • comment
    • Author: Hilarious Kangaroo
    Although nowhere near as well known as Martin Luther King Jr. or Medgar Evers, Viola Liuzzo earned her place in American history by becoming a martyr to the cause of civil rights. A white woman who was an activist long before it became fashionable to be one, Liuzzo could have chosen to live her life in quiet anonymity, safely ensconced with her husband and five children in their middle class home in Detroit. Instead, she headed to the South to lend her services as a nurse for the civil rights march in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965, a day that came to be known as "Black Sunday." For on that day, Liuzzo was gunned down while driving along a deserted road by four members of the Ku Klux Klan. "Home of the Brave" tells us her story.

    In form and style, this is a fairly conventional documentary, combining footage from the past with present-day interviews with friends and family members of the victim. Through both memories and documented evidence, the movie paints the portrait of an inspiring woman who recoiled at the injustices she saw in the world around her and ended up paying the ultimate price for her consuming need to rectify them. The most eye-opening aspect of the film involves the way in which after her death, Liuzzo became the object of greater government scrutiny than even the men who perpetrated the crime.

    The movie shows the rippling effect Viola's death had not only on society as a whole but on the lives of her children as well. It was her murder that inspired President Johnson to sign into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which essentially ended the use of poll taxes and literacy tests for voting in this country. As to her children, one of them - her oldest son - has since become a recluse living in the backwoods of Alabama, while her other son, Tommy, has become a leader of the Michigan militia, eventually being forced to go underground himself after 9/11 and the implementation of the Patriot Act. Given the fact that it was the FBI's own undercover agent riding along with the Klansmen who allegedly pulled the trigger that fateful night and that many of the investigators' findings regarding the case seem questionable at best, is Tommy justified in his anti-government paranoia? It is this question that haunts not only Tommy throughout his life but the audience throughout the movie.

    Nevertheless, the film always comes back to Viola and the powerful part she played in helping to change the course of history. However, the movie does not wear rose-colored glasses, for it informs us that, even today, racism is alive and well in the Deep South. This is shown most remarkably in the image we see of a black doll strung up in a rural person's backyard, and in an elderly white couple's response of "I don't know" to the simple question of whether or not they're happy that blacks forty-plus years ago received the right to vote. That is probably the most chilling moment in a movie filled with chilling moments.

    If "Home of the Brave" has a weakness, it is one for which the movie itself cannot be blamed. Unlike the subject of many documentaries, there are no clips of Viola speaking and no home movie depictions of her before her death. We see her only in still photographs and even those are highly limited in number. As a result, she remains an essentially shadowy figure, one whom it is easier for us to see as an icon for a cause than as a fully fleshed-out human being. The reflections of the people who knew her are certainly helpful in this regard, but they can only go so far in making her come to life on screen.

    Still, that is a minor flaw in an otherwise sterling tribute to a truly exceptional and courageous woman, one whose death helped to bring new hope and life to so many others.
  • comment
    • Author: Геракл
    A complicated story that touches us in so many different ways. Sad and yet inspiring, it demonstrates the spirit of the true American patriots. In addition, it is the story of a woman who actions would not stand out today but were uncommon and unacceptable in her time. You also have a deeply personal perspective from Viola's children, who courageously expose themselves as they tell their story. They lost their Mother, say her character assassinated, uncovered the abuse of J. Edgar Hoover and sued the FBI, but moreover sought to be reunited with the Mother who raised them. A heartbreaking story of the cost of standing up against injustice.The film holds your attention and leaves you stunned.
  • comment
    • Author: Jox
    While I do strongly believe that Viola's tale has a significant place in women's history, I can not recommend this film for a couple of reasons. The most apparent one to me was this film's lack of focus. One minute it talks about how Viola's death has affected her family, then the next it shows the son discussing the Second Amendment and the Patriot Act. I did not see the relevance these topics had on Viola's life.

    The other problem that I had with the documentary was the conspiracy theories strewn throughout the movie. The were not quite believable. Then after the documentary was shown to my class, a professor at my university, who was interviewed in the documentary, said that most of the movie's conclusions were gross exaggerations or flat out lies. The "accusations" that Viola's husband was a teamster with mob ties turned out to be entirely true. He was arrested for insurance fraud after burning down a friend's house for the money. The claim that Viola's son went "underground" after 9/11 was untrue. He appeared at several premiers of this documentary. My professor even talked to him to get Viola's notes for a book he was writing, and this son tried to charge him a large amount of money for access.

    The major mistake that the director made was allowing Viola's family to hijack Viola's story so that they could tell their own paranoid conspiracy theories on the FBI, government and the Second Amendment. A much more interesting piece would be focus on Viola, her beliefs and the ultimate sacrifice that she made for civil rights.
  • Credited cast:
    Julie Stevens Julie Stevens - Viola Liuzzo
    Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
    Stockard Channing Stockard Channing - Narrator (voice)
    Molly Howe Molly Howe - Maddison Cartor
    Viola Gregg Liuzzo Viola Gregg Liuzzo - Herself (archive footage)
    Harry J. Riley Harry J. Riley - Extra
    Gloria Steinem Gloria Steinem - Herself - Interview
    Sander Vanocur Sander Vanocur - Himself - Interview
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