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What the Press is saying about “Hats Off”

“Mimi Weddell is one of a kind and perhaps even a freak of nature, albeit an irresistibly charming one. It’s obviously not all because of her drive and determination, but we come away from Johnstone’s film believing attitude may play a role in the theater of at least one woman’s life.” ~ San Francisco Chronicle, David Wiegand

“Mimi is indefatigable and undefeatable. She will inspire and enchant you, I guarantee.” ~ Jennifer Merlin, About.com Guide

“Mimi has some very definite ideas about how one should live one’s life, most of which could have emerged from the mouth of Auntie Mame and landed on a needlepoint throw pillow (“Rise above it!” is a favorite maxim).” ~  TV Guide

“Mimi is truly an iconic American original, rising above the mundane and difficult confines of her own daily life to reach for the stars and fulfill her dreams. Hats Off captures the essence of this most unusual woman.” ~ IMDb

“Lively and touching.”  ~ New York Magazine

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Critic’s Notebook; Sundance: Some Surprises Amid the Frivolity

From the New York Times:

“One of the most revealing, eloquent and well-received films at the festival, a documentary about two elderly women called “Martha and Ethel,” still sounds awful on paper.

The film, by Jyll Johnstone and Barbara Ettinger, is about the two nannies who raised them. Martha, a German refugee, worked for the Johnstones for 30 years, then retired to an apartment in Queens. Ethel, a black woman who brought up the Ettinger children, still lives with Mrs. Ettinger. This idea sounded so bad on paper that the film makers applied for more than 50 grants to help with the budget and were turned down every time.

But what sounds like a narrow view of a privileged world is ambitious and emotionally deep. An affectionate portrait of two completely different women — the stern, well-meaning Martha and the loving, self-assured Ethel — it deftly becomes a history of social change over 40 years, and a meditation on motherhood and family. Martha and Ethel themselves, interviewed in their late 80’s, are such rich screen presences that one viewer asked, in a question-and-answer session with the film makers here: “Does Ethel have an agent yet?”

Read the entire review here.