george takei

I had a fitting start of my Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday at Sundance with a screening of To Be George Takei. This documentary about the beloved actor and activist, George Takei,(pronounced ta-kai) opens up a window into the experiences, beliefs, and people who have shaped and continue to shape his extraordinary life.  From sharing his memories of the Japanese American internment camps to coming out publicly about being gay to help fight for marriage equality, Takei’s unshakeable devotion to being a deep and powerful voice for equality comes through loud and clear.

The Players:

  • Director: Jennifer M. Kroot
  • Co-Director, Editor: Bill Weber
  • Cinematographer: Chris Million

Sundance Synopsis:

George Takei, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, opens up in this charming and blunt documentary by Jennifer Kroot. Delving into the experience he had as a child the internment camps in Arkansas, Takei shares the motivations, convictions, and influences that led him to his life as an actor and an activist.

The Good:

  • Takei being Takei: Everything that comes out of his mouth just sounds amazing – he has this poetic cadence to his speech that makes listening to him almost hypnotic. So the fact that the words themselves tend to be wise, clever, and/or poignant just makes him even more enjoyable to listen to.
  • Brad Takei: George’s longtime partner, Brad, is an wonderful character all his own (he would have to be in order to be with George). Their connection and their couple banter is brilliant and easy to love.
  • Fighting for Equality: One of the most compelling parts of this documentary is how it ties together the pieces of George’s life to elucidate what led him to become an activist for several different causes. It’s inspiring.

The Bad:

  • I think the one thing missing from this film was a deeper exploration of the homophobia and racism he experienced in the industry, and how his coming out effected his fan base.

Overall:

George Takei fans will not be disappointment by this. People who aren’t as familiar with him or his work will still enjoy it. In fact, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to walk away from this film without feeling a bit like a fan. Also, if you’re not following George Takei on Facebook, you should be.

Rating: 8/10