The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

DVD - 2017
Average Rating:
6
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An African-American woman becomes an unwitting pioneer for medical breakthroughs when her cells are used to create the first immortal human cell line in the early 1950s.
Audience: Not rated.
Publisher: [New York] : HBO Home Entertainment, 2017.
Branch Call Number: DVD FIC Immor
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (90 min.) : digital, sound, colour ; 12 cm
Language Note: In English dubbed in French and Spanish with French and Spanish subtitles.
Closed captioned for the hearing impaired.

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l
loriroshelle
Nov 05, 2017

I felt this movie did a disservice to the issue of the HeLa cells story. It was used as a vehicle to allow Oprah some dramatic acting credit. The story of Henretta Lacks and the HeLa cells was secondary.
Also I felt the way the family was presented in the movie was disrespectful. They were portrayed as ignorant and mentally unstable.
The movie hopefully did educate more people about Henretta Lacks's contribution to science. But, in the future hopefully someone else will create a better film.

r
Raun
Oct 31, 2017

If you are really interested in this subject, the harvesting and propagating of human cells, read the book. The movie doesn't do it justice but it does give visuals for some of the places in Henrietta's biography and the players bring to life the characters of her life. Without knowing the background from the book, the movie is quite mystifying in places.

g
graybear2
Oct 31, 2017

I suspect the movie did not live up to the book, but not having read it, I couldn't say. Despite a wonderful performance by Oprah Winfrey, I just seemed rather disjointed; didn't flow very well. Although Rose Byrne looks a lot like the book's author, I just thought she was miscast in this role. Nonetheless, it is an important piece of work for shedding light on yet more shameful activities by people in power towards those who are not.

l
LauraSteinert
Oct 07, 2017

Strangely moving. A compelling look at the trauma of a family who lost the mother. Is it possible that the hospital actually used her as a guinea pig? Probably. Was the sister who died in one of the worst mental hospitals in the country a victim of abuse that resulted in her death? It seems plausible. But the main story is one woman's fight for answers about who her mother was. The family may have wanted money, but this woman just wanted to understand the impossible to imagine. (I deducted one star because Rose Byrne was just too, too chirpy. Was anyone ever that young and happy?)

p
poetdeluxe
Sep 30, 2017

Excellent performances abound in this one, particularly from Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne. However, as filmmaking goes, it's a slower, stolid piece that fails to significantly engage the viewer.

m
Miller1114
Sep 15, 2017

I'm not a fan of movies or documentaries that tell a story in bits and pieces or flashbacks. It disrupts the flow of the storyline and I think it's a cheap, lazy trick the writer and producer does to avoid providing a meaningful story. Unfortunately, I still only know a few things about the subject. I know what happened to her cells & what happened to her children after her death. I don't know much more about her than I did before I watched the movie. I am glad that her legacy is being recognized for helping millions of people.

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