Big Mam Film Analysis Essay

1026 Words Oct 7th, 2015 null Page
Big Mama Documentary Analysis – Tracy Seretean, filmmaker
The 2000 documentary Big Mama covers an 18-month span chronicling the battle an 89-year-old grandmother, Viola, has in keeping her grandson, Walter, out of the foster care program. Walter’s mother was an addict who delivered him while she was under the influence, only to disappear completely from his life shortly after. Subsequently, while on his deathbed, Walter’s father, begged his mother to take care of Walter, though it would seem that Viola was unable to secure custody of Walter immediately following the death of her son. Inspiration for the documentary came from journalist Erin Texeira who wrote that Viola struggled to obtain custody of, the then four-year-old Walter after he “had been severely neglected in foster care.” Although Viola was finally able to obtain custody of Walter, her age was seemingly an ongoing issue with the welfare system as she attempted to prove that she could provide the care and love Walter so desperately needed. For five years, Viola managed to do just that; provide her grandson with stability, love, education and religion, under which he thrived and grew.
On many levels, Viola and Walter’s story is a chapter out of the book of nontraditional families. The immediate indication is their race as African Americans living in South Central Los Angeles. Additionally, an aging grandmother raising her grandson tends to carry a stigma, since grandparents as primary caregivers is often due to…

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