This uplifting documentary chronicles the vibrant life and compelling works of the legendary storyteller, who became the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize, opened in theaters on June 21.
The film features conversations with Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, and Sonia Sanchez, as well as Oprah Winfrey, who adapted Morrison’s 1987 novel Beloved into a 1998 feature film directed by the late Jonathan Demme.
The documentary has been praised as an intimate and artful meditation on the life and works of the 88-year-old poet and novelist. Morrison emerged from the steel town of Lorain, OH, as a “little black girl” whom no one took seriously—a circumstance that provided major motivation for her restlessly ambitious and creative mind.
Venturing inside Morrison’s riverfront writing room, the documentary reflects on race, America, history, and the human condition as viewed through the prism of Morrison’s literature and her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative. The film delves into the achievements of Morrison’s books—among them the novels The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Song of Solomon — as well as her pivotal work as an editor working with iconic African American literature, and her time teaching at Princeton University.
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am was directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and produced by Greenfield-Sanders, Johanna Giebelhaus, Chad Thompson, and Tommy Walker. The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, will also stream on Hulu, and will make its exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere in late 2020 on PBS as part of the American Masters series.