“Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time” Review

-Allison McCulloch

127 mins. | USA | 2021
Directors: Robert B. Weide, Don Argott

“The horse jumped over the fucking fence.”

Co-director Robert B. Weide wrote Kurt Vonnegut a letter in 1982, expressing interest in making a documentary about his life. Weide and Vonnegut started a friendship that lasted 25 years. Weide interviewed Vonnegut innumerable times; eventually the amount of data, tapes, videos, and photos piled up until the right moment for the documentary to be released.

It starts from Vonnegut’s childhood and continues until the end of his life. It explores his work: his first story sold to Collier’s and the twenty years of blood, sweat, and tears before his eventual success when money was “coming out of [his] ears”.  

Vonnegut was on another plane of existence, weaving in and out of time with his work. The documentary describes an event in its opening moments when the clairvoyant Vonnegut put his head against a tree and saw everything that had happened in the area and that was going to happen.

Also interesting was Vonnegut’s art that resembled the feelings that his books evoked.

Toward the end, Kurt Vonnegut came across like a bitter, old man, not unlike George Carlin. And not unlike Carlin, he also had a solid sense of humor and interrogated “junk history and junk culture”, questioning everything.

Weide’s powerful tale was woven out of pure love for the author. He even interviews Valerie Stevenson, the teacher who introduced him to Vonnegut’s work. Vonnegut’s family members are interviewed, even his nephew Kurt Adams, his namesake who bore an incredible resemblance to him.

By the end of the film, you’ll feel like you lost a friend, but gained a loved one. Though I never really explored Vonnegut’s literary work before, consider me interested now.

Vegan alerts:
-Reference to shelter for pigs about to be slaughtered
-POWs were ordered to dig out bodies (photos of dead people and even babies were shown)
-Farewell clambake

Rating: 10/10

Follow Allison McCulloch on Twitter.

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