Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsStreamingSundance 2020: Crip Camp Review

Keith NoakesJanuary 24, 202090/100
James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham
Running Time
102 minutes
Release Date
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Crip Camp is an inspiring and uplifting documentary, fostering a compelling and lifelong sense of community among this disenfranchised group as they for their civil rights.

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

Those who are disabled, either physically or mentally, are often overlooked, not even given a second thought. Their lives are certainly not easy as they often face similar kinds of stigmas as other minorities. Their said quest for acceptance arguably hasn’t been the most publicized but Crip Camp, the latest Netflix documentary produced by Barrack and Michelle Obama, hopes to counter those stigmas by depicting the disabled with empathy and respect as at the end of the day, they are all people like you and I. Through an impressive amount of archival footage, the film follows the patrons and counselors of a summer camp catering to the disabled of all types just down the road from Woodstock named Camp Janed.

Having such a close proximity to Woodstock, it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise to find plenty of hippies roaming the camp. It was definitely the peace and love theme of the 1970s that fueled the creation of the camp. The diverse set of characters within Crip Camp was definitely fun to watch, be it the various hippies or even better, the camp patrons in their element. The camp was an escape where they can just focus on being themselves and not have to worry about the outside world. During that time period, the disabled were not generally accepted within the rest of society so the camp served as a refuge.

It was this sense of community and lifelong bonds that formed during camp that would fuel a new civil rights movement as the disabled fought for the same kinds of rights as everyone else. This strong sense of camaraderie and community was gripping and inspiring to watch (but also sad) through all the ups and downs along the way as they took on multiple U.S. governments to do so. Crip Camp makes it so easy to feel right along with these people over several decades that the end was satisfying even though there is still plenty of work to be done. What helped tie all of this together was an impressive soundtrack.

In the end, the best films are ones that elicits emotion and stays in the minds of audiences long after watching and Crip Camp is no different.

*still courtesy of Sundance*

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