The documentary film All’s Well and Fair presents a fascinating look at motherhood, music, work, and relationships. Director Luci Westphal first filmed her conversations with band mates Rachel, Tina, and Margaret in 1996, shortly after the Gainesville, Florida punk rockers had won a local “F*ck the Government” song contest. Ten years later, Westphal caught up with all three women, now in their 30s with teenage children and, in some cases, marriages and second children as well.
Both the 1996 and 2006 conversations focus on subjects the women raised in their song: war, the government, welfare, money, food, drugs, mass media, creativity, men and women, mothers, and children. The conversations are juxtaposed with footage of Rachel, Margaret, and Tina in their everyday lives, and the combination of in-depth talk with equally candid images makes for an enthralling and thought-provoking film. It’s also very interesting to see how their opinions and perspectives have and have not changed, and on what topics – an evolution that is bound to resonate with many viewers.
All’s Well and Fair has been released as a 90-minute documentary, but individual segments are also available on the doc’s website; new episodes are available every Monday and Thursday through next month. The web series is very interactive, inviting viewers to add their comments, perspectives, and personal stories about how their own lives have unfolded and been shaped by specific experiences. And, as befitting a film about punk rock musicians, the soundtrack is absolutely wonderful.
I’ve been watching the series online; as of this writing, nine episodes have been posted, with ten more to come. So I don’t yet know if any earth-shaking revelations or twists lie in wait, but so far one of the aspects that I’ve enjoyed – and related to – the most is how utterly normal these women’s lives are. Sure, they’re doing things I can only dream of – for one, I have no musical talent – but watching them at home, work, and school, I feel like I’m hearing conversations like the ones I’ve had with my friends, in very familiar environments. And I think that’s where the genius of this film – and in Westphal’s talent as an interviewer – lies: in making the ordinary captivating and moving, and in drawing the viewer in to three compelling lives.
Sarah's first book, Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, will be out March 2013. For more information, follow her on Twitter @saraherdreich, or check out saraherdreich.com.