The 10 best movies we saw at Sundance

A father and daughter hug.

An image from the documentary “Daughters.”

(Sundance Institute)

Executive produced by Kerry Washington, “Daughters” culminates with an emotional father-daughter dance inside a Washington, D.C., jail. But its real potency, as both a portrait of families riven by incarceration and a call to action on prisoners’ rights, lies in what comes before and after. Inside the facility, inmates meet for a 10-week course on fatherhood to participate in the event, which for many will be their only in-person time with family in months or years. Outside, their daughters, ranging from kindergarten to high school, dote on their dads, or fear forgetting them, or lash out in frustration at their absence. Then, after the father-daughter duos’ all-too-fleeting time together at the dance, the filmmakers stick around for a year, two years, three, witnessing relationships haltingly rebuilt and others tested by tough sentences, reminding viewers that the consequences of our penal system — including recidivism itself — reverberate outward into our communities and across time. As it arrives at Sundance, “Daughters’” six-year journey now embraces its young subjects aging from kindergartners to preteens, and in so doing underscores the fact that no coda, however distant, can close the circle completely on their stories. I want to follow these fathers and daughters deep into the future: an “Up” series of the wounds, and the healing, of America’s carceral age. —Matt Brennan


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