HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Jan 23, 2006: Wrestling with Angels review – by Sura Wood
Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner
“Park City -- Tony Kushner, the author of "Angels in America," a wakeup call in the Age of Aids, and more recently the screenplay for "Munich," is the loquacious, immensely articulate, witty subject of Freida Lee Mock's "Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner," an adulatory documentary that could well have been titled "Ode to Kushner." ...good looking and well crafted... -- cinematographers Eddie Marritz and Don Lenzer, were on board for Mock's "Maya Lin," as well as Bestor Cram provide the rich visuals …
The doc should have strong art house potential, especially in the "blue states" and big cities, where Kushner's brand of liberal activist politics resonate.
Enormously productive, Kushner has a bundle of creative energy that he invests in diverse projects and causes. During a three-year period, from 9/11 to the 2004 presidential election, Mock followed him from rehearsal halls to one humorous speaking engagement after another, to endless book signings and the warm embrace of gushing fans, weaving in clips from performances of his plays, along the way. Marcia Gay Harden doing a riff on Laura Bush in "Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy" is hilarious. Scenes with Kushner collaborating with Jeanine Tesori, composer for the score of "Caroline, or Change," are fascinating.
Kushner often speaks directly to the camera, reminiscing about coming out, growing up Jewish and gay in Louisiana, and it's a joy to listen to him. A rebel from an early age, he sported an Afro, was a champion debater and refused to stand up for the pledge of allegiance in school.
For the entire length of the film, no negative words about Kushner are spoken. Collaborators such as George C. Wolfe and Maurice Sendak sing his praises and many choice lines are delivered by Kushner and his friends. Mike Nichols takes Kushner aside and consoles him by saying: "Cheer up. Life isn't everything."
Mock, an accomplished filmmaker, gets close to her subjects … ("Return with Honor") ... If nothing else, this is an essay in charisma.”