No matter what you think of unions, you'll want to see this film.
The crew was obviously embedded in the '74 Harlan County coal miner strike for so long that they eventually just became part of the ongoing circus as well as the lulls in the action. Hence, no cloying partisan narrator "guides" you through the story; the people living it speak for themselves--the hallmark of top-notch documentary.
As for editing, Barbara Kopple clearly knew what she was doing, and what a job that must have been (your humble hostess reeeaaally loves a good editing job and can spot it like a hawk). The final cut is all about the real moments, not those wherein subjects play to the camera.
The gritty cinematography perfectly captures these people at this point in their lives. This film centers around a strike, but in doing so, it honestly exposes an entire culture. This is 100 minutes of absolutely captivating film.
If all of that is too lofty, go for the cars and the clothes and the cigarettes. Go for the miners' wives, because you really want to meet the miners' wives (seriously BADASS).
No go on and get this one in your queue.
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