SXSW 2023 Review: “Great Photo, Lovely Life” – A Hard-Hitting & Vital Story!

Great Photo, Lovely Life is an HBO documentary that can be painful to experience but vital to hear. Filmmaker Amanda Mustard sets out on an eight year journey to look into her grandfather’s history of sexual abuse among her family and victims of his chiropractor practice. It is a documentary with so many more questions rather than answers at times, but in the spirit of a provocative documentary, this bodes well.

Amanda’s personal account through this film has a more scattered-brained structure, which fits the story because of the filmmakers intent to let the audience look at the people and situations in an unbiased way. Just the way an investigation usually unfolds, the documentary provides interviews and discovered information in a similar order to how Amanda found it out.

Amanda’s ability to remain professional and contained while interviewing her mother, other victims, and even her grandfather is unfounded. Even though it becomes clear her feelings towards the story unfolding and towards her grandfather, she protects the integrity of the film by not allowing her strong emotions to get in the way of the documentary, something many, including myself would never be able to do.

Amanda’s interviews with her grandfather provide a conversation about the mindset of the person behind these horrible acts and if it can possibly be prevented with resources for rehabilitation. The topic of “helping” these monsters can be very taboo but finding out six million dollars a year is funded to incarcerate them and only two million on sexual abuse prevention programs is a shocking fact. Amanda opens up this conversation that is extremely difficult to process when so many of us struggle to have any sympathy for sexual predators, including myself. However, it is viral we have it.

Great Photo, Lovely Life should not be taken lightly after being warned in the beginning of the content. But, if you find yourself being able to watch, it is a documentary that needs to be seen by as many as possible.

‘Great Photo, Lovely Life’ Rating – 3.75/5

Follow Steph (the Author) on Socials
Instagram – @cinemasteph_7
Twitter – @Stephanie23_23


Stephanie Young

Stephanie Young

Stephanie is a huge film fanatic, a librarian, and a baker! And when she isn't busy doing these activities, she is running around with her Australian Cattle Dog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *