Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz, director of this essay film, grew up in a middle-class Jewish household believing she was white; in college she learned that her birth had been the unintended consequence of her mother’s affair with a black man and that her mother had never confessed the infidelity to her husband. That story is interesting enough, though Schwartz uses it mainly as a pretext for navel-gazing, retracing her life in terms of what she did or didn’t know at every point. In between footage of her bat mitzvah, high school graduation, and appointments with her therapist, Schwartz tearfully addresses the camera about her emotional development and hectors her relatives to reflect on what her life means to them. One can only hope that she gained something from the process of making this; I found it embarrassing to watch.