Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am offers an artful and intimate meditation on the life and works of the late legendary storyteller and Nobel prize-winner. From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio to ’70s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room, Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, America, history and the human condition as seen through the prism of her own literature.
Inspired to write because no one took a “little black girl” seriously, Morrison reflects on her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative. Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature and personality, the film includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed works, including novels The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon, her role as an editor of iconic African-American literature and her time teaching at Princeton University.
In addition to Ms. Morrison, the film features interviews with Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez and Oprah Winfrey, who turned Morrison’s novel Beloved into a feature film. Using Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ elegant portrait-style interviews, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am includes original music by Kathryn Bostic, a specially created opening sequence by artist Mickalene Thomas and evocative works by other contemporary African-American artists including Kara Walker, Rashid Johnson and Kerry James Marshall.
“To have the towering Morrison (…) willing to face your cameras—head on, in fact—and tell her story as candidly, heartily and humanely as she does here, is a singular gift that keeps on giving throughout the film’s two captivating hours.” (Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times)
“Much of the film’s pleasure is in hearing Morrison speak.” (Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times)
“Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am goes deeper than mere celebrity profile (…) By touching upon the various ways in which Morrison’s tomes influenced American literature at large, all while repeatedly leaping backward to detail her own chronology, Greenfield-Sanders captures the spirit of her writing, career and life.” (Nick Schager, Variety)