Movies »The Wild And Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

Directed by Julien Nitzberg (2009)

I started watching The Wild And Wonderful Whites of West Virginia only to turn it off when I started to feel like I was watching one of those A&E train wreck shows.

Then, the next day, I resumed play because it’s like one of those train wrecks you can’t help but look at.

The White family, made infamous in song and local lore by being generally nuts – dealing drugs, raising hell and shooting each other, make for an interesting hour (and might make you afraid to visit West Virginia).

One might call this to exploitative – the age old debate that comes with documentary, especially when the subjects are people whose lives are extreme and divisive and the Whites are surely both. But the Whites seem happy to be exposed raw and relish in their outlaw lifestyle.

Let’s face it, as a person about to write up two fancy French macaroon bakeries in a week, my life could not be more different than the women depicted, seen snorting coke in the hospital room after just giving birth. Yet, without being sentimental there are moments when you have sympathy for these outlaw misfits.

It’s not a wholly masterfully crafted portrait, one wonders what this would have been in the hands of someone like the Maysles, but it’s far more balanced than I expected from the producers of Jackass and the filmmakers don’t get in their own way.

On netflix instant.

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Posted on October 10, 2011

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