.

Martha & Ethel

Martha Kneifel, Ethel Edwards, Ruth Fuglistaller

Directed by Jyll Johnstone
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
March 8, 1995

Delicate work is being transacted in this unique and unforgettable documentary about two nannies. Producer and director Jyll Johnstone was one of five children in the care of Martha Kneifel, a refugee from prewar Germany who ruled the Johnstone kids with a firm hand. Co-producer Barbara Ettinger, a childhood pal of Johnstone's in Manhattan, was one of six children who found a soft touch in Ethel Edwards, a nanny from a sharecropping family in the rural South. Johnstone, an actress, and Ettinger, a photographer, wanted to film a tribute to the two nannies (Martha died in October) who played such an integral part in their formative years.

They did a lot more. What could have been a mere memoir becomes a provocative document about the changing nature of family. Johnstone and Ettinger were children of '40s privilege; today, child care is often a necessity. Through Martha and Ethel and those whose lives they've touched, the filmmakers catch the emotional highs and lows of surrogate parenting and craft a touching film of harsh, haunting truth.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Madame George”

    Van Morrison | 1968

    One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com