When Allice Walker wrote her In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose it’s hard to imagine that she thought one day her work would be the catalyst for the documentary, In Our Mothers’ Gardens. Or that she envisioned storytellers would one day sit in front of a camera to discuss the historic strength that resides in a community of women and use the tales of their foremothers to lead a discussion on self-care, specifically for women of color.
While Walker may not have had the foresight to see how impactful her work would be on the generations that came after her, those that have seen the film express their gratitude to not only her but to their own familial lineage of mothers as well.
Here’s everything we know about In Our Mothers’ Gardens.
What is Alice Walker's original work about?
The Alice Walker work upon which the documentary is based is her 1983 book called In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose. It's a collection of 36 essays that explores Black womanhood in the context of their strength, sexuality, creativity, healing, civil rights and more. The stories shared are often told through the framework of the mother and daughter relationship.
What is In Our Mothers’ Gardens about?
The following is a synopsis of the film as described by the projects distributor ARRAY (the company belonging to well-known director Ava DuVernay):
"In Our Mothers’ Gardens celebrates the strength and resiliency of Black women and Black families through the complex and oftentimes humorous relationship between mothers and daughters. The film pays homage to Black maternal ancestors while examining the immediate and critical importance of self-care, and the healing tools necessary for Black communities to thrive."
In Our Mothers’ Gardens cast
Sharing their stories and providing their commentary in the film are the following:
- #MeToo founder Tarana Burke
- The Roots and Chris Rock tour manager Tina Farris
- Cultural critic Dr. Brittney Cooper of Rutgers University
- Rev. Dr. Theresa S. Thames of Princeton University
- Holistic lifestyle maven Latham Thomas
- Photographer Adama Delphine Fawundu
- NPR’s Senior Director for Programming Yolanda Sangweni.
- Director of In Our Mothers’ Gardens Shantrelle P. Lewis
In Our Mothers’ Gardens reviews
In Our Mothers’ Gardens currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100%. The Los Angeles Times says, "It's a film to be watched not for its more literal filmmaking achievements, but rather for its ability to make you feel seen, with vulnerability and with love."
The Hollywood Reporter states, "Despite its flaws, In Our Mothers' Gardens is an assured documentary that cogently wrestles with Walker's thesis before enthusiastically passing the baton."
Film critics aren’t the only ones fanning over the project. Take a look at what some viewers are saying on Twitter.
If you are a BLACK WOMAN don’t walk, run to Netflix & turn on “In Our Mothers Gardens” right NOWJuly 13, 2022
every black women should watch 'in our mothers garden'July 13, 2022
In our mothers garden on Netflix is a must see documentaryJuly 14, 2022
i’m finally watching in our mothers’ garden while i set my ancestor altar up in our new home. i’ve been smiling &. crying &. feeling all of the love within this space &. it feels so good to sit in front of my altar again 🖤July 12, 2022
In Our Mothers’ Gardens trailer
The trailer certainly does its job at encouraging viewers to explore the cultural and historic narrative of everyday women of color. Take a look.
In Our Mothers' Gardens director
Directing In Our Mothers’ Gardens is Shantrelle P. Lewis. While Lewis does not have a ton of credits to her name, she is a 2012 Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellow, and judging by the reviews of her Netflix documentary, we doubt this will be her last project.
Where to watch In Our Mothers’ Gardens
In Our Mothers’ Gardens is currently streaming on Netflix globally. You'll need a subscription to watch it. Monthly subscriptions start at $9.99/£6.99.
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Terrell Smith has a diverse writing background having penned material for a wide array of clients including the federal government and Bravo television personalities. When he’s not writing as Terrell, he’s writing under his pseudonym Tavion Scott, creating scripts for his audio drama podcasts. Terrell is a huge fan of great storytelling when it comes to television and film. Some of his favorite shows include The Crown, WandaVision, Abbot Elementary and Godfather of Harlem. And a fun fact is he's completely dialed into the TLC 90 Day Fiancé universe.