It tells the real-life story of Isabel Wilkerson (Ellis), a writer struggling with grief as she tries to write what will become her groundbreaking book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, an in-depth examination of racism in the United States.
Bernthal stars opposite Ellis as Isabel's husband, Brett.
Of the nine reviews collated at the time of writing, all are generally positive, giving the film its 100% Rotten Tomatoes score (for now).
Here's what some of them have said:
"What makes DuVernay's movie so essential is the way it frames the conversation around America's most difficult issue. Origin draws comparisons, introduces examples and enables discussion. And it deemphasizes the dreaded 'R-word,' racism, which has a way of triggering white fragility and stopping meaningful discussion dead in its tracks."
"DuVerney is attempting to connect to the widest audience possible, and a vast range of previous knowledge. This film is for the grumpy plumber (Nick Offerman) in the MAGA cap who turns up to fix a leak in Wilkerson's house... That plumber is part of the most emotionally resonant aspect of the film — the tender, relatable human experience threaded throughout. DuVernay captures the universal experience of loss: the regrets, the suffocating sorrow."
"It would be ignoring the scope of DuVernay's ambition to ask why she didn't simply make a documentary about Wilkerson's work... Even so, both the glossy-edged domestic drama and the historical spectacle may be turnoffs for viewers who want to get to the grist of Wilkerson's ideas and their resonance — but then, there's always the book for that."
"We've seen the story of a woman searching for herself after tragedy many times before, but in Origin, DuVernay affectionately makes it her own."
"Aunjanue Ellis gives a poised and charismatic performance as Wilkerson... [with] a typically likable, smart performance from Jon Bernthal."
Origin was screened at the Venice Film Festival, it does not have a release date yet.
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