More Than A Hurricane
One of the biggest hot-topics across the globe right now is immigration. Whether it be Trump’s wall, Bolosonaro’s disdain for the natives in the Amazon rainforest or the constant debate of immigration with Brexit, the biggest casualties in all of this are ultimately those caught in the crosshairs; displaced refugees. When Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rica in 2017, it left a trail of destruction and devastation in its wake.
Fast forward 2 years, Netflix’s latest documentary After Maria follows the displaced families still struggling to pick up the pieces of their shattered life from this disaster. With FEMA no longer providing accomodation to Puerto Rican refugees living in America, this short documentary depicts the day to day grind and struggle three families face in the wake of these devastating policies.
Despite After Maria’s short length, the film certainly leaves an impactful impression when the credits roll. Especially late on, there’s some difficult scenes here showing the families displaced and on the verge of homelessness. Without experiencing it yourself, it’s something that’s particularly difficult to understand without seeing it first-hand and in that respect, After Maria is incredibly impactful. I just wish it was a bit longer.
While the material that’s here is well written and shot effectively, a slightly longer run-time and some interviews from higher officials in charge of these policies would have been nice but these are little nitpicks rather than actual criticisms to the film itself.
Directed by Nadia Hallgren, After Maria adopts a fly-on-the-wall perspective, working as part-documentary, part-reality film, with a particular emphasis on the struggle these families have to try and integrate. Helping with the impact of this one are numerous face to face interviews with the families as well as stock archival footage from news reports accentuating the devastation this hurricane had.
After Maria is a devastating documentary, one that’s tough to watch at times, depicting the very real struggle of Puerto Ricans still suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Although the experience is fleeting, After Maria is a pretty impactful documentary, one that does well to hammer home just how damaging the effect of this was.
Ending on a sombre note, showing what’s happened to these people since the time of filming, the volatile situation around immigration and refugees is something that continues to be a controversial and difficult topic for many people across the globe. Regardless of which side of the fence you stand on this topic, the human cost is a difficult one to stomach and with our world on the brink of massive climate change in the near future, this situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.
After Maria releases 24th May on Netflix – we’ve watched the entire film for the purposes of this review.
Verdict - 7.5/10