Review: First Match, 2018, dir. Olivia Newman

In its own modest, tasteful way, Olivia Newman’s First Match is a harsh watch, a movie loaded with social and political (and sociopolitical) messages that shouldn’t feel modern but do anyways. That’s 2018 for you. We’re still that country. The film leaves no trace of whiteness and makes no mention of whiteness (at least that I recall), but whiteness is there as gravity, holding everything in Newman’s frame in place. She doesn’t rub our faces in the consequences of systemic racism, but mostly just shows them without mentioning them, which makes for surprisingly effective storytelling. 

That’s a nice way of saying “this movie is about racism but it isn’t really about racism, and honestly, you can just watch it without even considering racism, too.” First Match is a great little film. I’d say more about it, but I’ve exhausted myself talking about racism, and I think my review for Paste Magazine will serve you better than a blurb on this blog anyhow.

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