What They Say:
The killing of Latasha Harlins became a flashpoint for the 1992 LA uprising. This documentary evocatively explores the 15-year-old’s life and dreams.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The more and more news stations focus on the circumstances of someone’s death in their reporting, I take some comfort in the fact that short documentaries like “A Love Song for Latasha” exist to remind us of the human life behind the tragedy. Like another Oscar-nominated short this year (which would be “If Anything Happens I Love You”), “A Love Song for Latasha” walks a fine line in telling a story of immense tragedy while not making the subject overtly political. In this case that may be a bit harder to do since the death involves a young black woman and a non-white killer who never-the-less gets away with a pittance of a sentence for murder. However, like the aforementioned animated short, “A Love Song for Latasha” soars because the vast majority of the film is a recreation of a life that by all accounts had a very bright future before it was tragically cut short.
Most of the footage in this film is not of the real Latasha. She lived during a time when home cameras weren’t as common (and were expensive, if any kids reading this can believe it). Thus, most of her life has to be recreated with actors, animation, and narration from her cousin and best friend.
In terms of twists and turns, there isn’t much to speak of. We’re aware that something tragic will occur within the first minute and there isn’t much to discuss about the daily life of a teenager. Yet Latasha’s cousin tells the story in a way that you can’t help but get swept up in the emotions during the story. Also – like the aforementioned “If Anything Happens I Love You – Netflix has deemed this to be a worthy enough short to pick up distribution rights. I don’t know how it will fare in the algorithm; however, it is more than worth looking up “A Love Song for Latasha” for its pure emotional gravitas.
Streamed By: Netflix
This short has been nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 93rd Annual Academy Awards!