Anita: Speaking Truth to Power

Anita Hill’s 1991 testimony before the Senate judiciary committee, in which she accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of workplace sexual harassment, sent shock waves through every office in America, bringing the issue of harassment into the open and ending the Mad Men era forever. This documentary by Freida Mock (Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision) is compelling for its first hour, as she recounts the high drama of Thomas’s confirmation hearings, but it dribbles off in the last 15 minutes with a vague biographical sketch of Hill and a largely anecdotal treatment of how her moment in the spotlight changed the country. Hill is certainly entitled to the Rosa Parks treatment—what she did took real guts, and she paid for it after Thomas was confirmed—but focusing on her as a personality at the expense of the incident’s greater social, racial, and political context reduces this to a liberal exercise in self-congratulation.