by the Forward

Why We Spent 2016 Keeping Up With ‘The Joneses’

Coastal elites, we have been told recently, need to pay more attention to rural, white America. Fine, let them watch Moby Longinotto’s documentary, “The Joneses,” set in the trailer parks and small-town churches of very red, working-poor Mississippi and focusing on a transgender grandmother. Jehri Jones, 73 and divorced, shepherds her hard-luck family (two of her sons are disabled) through depressions both economic and psychological. The family is also wrestling with decades-old scars — while Jheri was transitioning, her ex-wife shut her out of their children’s lives for seven years. “The Joneses” is as sweet and sad as a melted ice cream cake, but its bleakness is leavened by Jheri’s simple joy in her body and by the family’s earnest desire to care for itself: Think “Transparent” without the decadence or narcissism.

- Raphael Magarik
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The Joneses

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