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We continue our Rialto Recommends focus on female filmmakers with writer/director Chinonye Chukwu's challenging 2019 film CLEMENCY starring Alfre Woodard. Many films have taken on the subject of the death penalty but none before CLEMENCY has so seriously examined the toll that administering this sentence takes on those charged with carrying it out. Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams. As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill. CLEMENCY mines serious social issues for gripping drama, brought to life by an outstanding cast led by Alfre Woodard. Rolling Stone raved "With a devastating performance as a prison warden who oversees executions, the actress brings the toll of the death penalty to wrenching life. Like the movie she inhabits with every fiber of her being, Woodard is some kind of miracle." And Entertainment Weekly said "CLEMENCY does what few other movies about death row have, handling a thorny, infinitely complicated subject in terms that are neither moralizing nor melodramatic." CLEMENCY is streaming on Hulu or available to rent for a modes fee from Amazon, GooglePlay, YouTube, Vudu, DirectTV, FlixFling and others. A word of caution...the film opens with a tough scene of an execution that doesn't go smoothly. It is challenging to endure but the movie and the questions it asks are worth watching. Don't miss this powerful but tragically under-seen film.

Film Facts
Running Time
MPAA Rating
Alfre Woodard
Aldis Hodge
Wendell Pierce
Richard Schiff
Directed by
Chinonye Chukwu
Written by
Chinonye Chukwu
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