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Cruel But Necessary (review)

Is it real, or is it fake? That was the debate when clips from this camcorder-shot movie turned up on YouTube a few years back, clips that appeared to show a cheating husband caught, unwittingly, on home-movie video talking to his lover (he thought the camcorder was turned off). That’s how this brilliant, provocative, wonderfully innovative film opens, and it continues in that vein, the work of one “Betty Munson,” now divorced from that rat, as she delves into new realms of discovery about herself and the world via her videocamera. Sometimes she hides it and records others surreptitiously, and in the process peels away layers of lies and secrets; sometimes she speaks directly into it, and it becomes a kind of diary of her intellectual and emotional awakening. The overall effect is astonishing: this is a smart, challenging film that demands close attention on the viewer’s part

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