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Tribeca 2020: “Jacinta” (2020) ★★★★


What does it take to become a good mother? What needs to be done to become a better daughter? The mother and daughter relationship is serene and heartwarming. Sometimes, though, it takes a darker turn with no chance of slowing down. And when that happens, there is only one chance to make it right. But will that person realize that it’s a tough lesson of life one should not miss?

Rosemary and Jacinta are very close. They share the same blood, same DNA, and even the same prison. Rosemary made some wrong choices and dragged her own daughter into the same web of constant mistakes that pulls her down and further down with no way of going up. Jacinta is a drug addict, drunkard, and hangs out with the wrong people. Overall, her entire life is a complete mess except for one thing – a daughter named Caylynn which she had to give up to save her from the same mistakes she made – following the footsteps of her mother.

When we meet Jacinta, she is already in jail. She is 26 years old but does not feel alone because her mom resides in the same prison. They can see each other, hug each other, and tell one another about their feelings. The extremely compassionate documentary called “Jacinta” takes us into the journey of the titular character over several years. We see how Jacinta struggles with drug addiction. She, after being released from prison, ends up in a sober house while her mind is still intoxicated. She has a daughter she barely sees but that is the only choice made by Jacinta we all will agree with.

It is an absolutely heartbreaking story, to say the least. It is the unhealthy strong bond between Jacinta and Rosemary that will trouble you the most. Especially after realizing how Jacinta ended up where she is at the point when she was introduced to us. It’s not something you describe because it is not possible at all. Certain scenes are truly devastating but hope helps us through. As we remain hopeful towards Jacinta’s fate, we meet her family including her father and her siblings. Each and every one of them has their own story to share. But in the end, it all comes down to Jacinta – a tragic character and real person that does not love herself enough to fix her own life.

Jacinta is a funny young lady. She is beautiful and compassionate, smart but lacking a strong will. She is aware of her weaknesses but does not know how to get rid of them. Having a chance of being a mother to Caylynn, Jacinta chooses to leave her own daughter out of her life. And while we all may disagree with what Jacinta does to her life, her selfless act of love is the epitome of love between a mother and her daughter that’s only seen in films. But all that is nothing in comparison with what you are about to see in this lovely documentary from Jessica Earnshaw.

That said, there are not many documentaries that will keep you thinking throughout or make you feel unsettled. Graphic scenes of drug use are an excellent way of capturing what happens if one person doesn’t find a way to stop. As there’s a lot to process in “Jacinta”, there’s one specific line delivered by Jacinta that defines this exceptionally poignant story, “In contrary belief, it takes a good mother to know when they can do what is right.” No matter what, “Jacinta” is a story of a broken relationship, of a failed motherhood, and what it may result in. Overall, it’s a sad but positive story of change, love, and dedication. It, once again, comes down to the greatest love of all time – a child and a mother and what happens when their paths fall apart.

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