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In the days of slavery, before a black man could be elected president, Midway Plantation sat in all its antebellum glory on several hundred verdant acres of prime North Carolina countryside. But more than a century later, this searing emblem of the Old South has been swallowed up by the onslaught of modern civilization: highways, stripmalls and big box stores.
Now, Charlie Silver, a descendent of the man who built Midway, is determined to save the family home. To escape the urban sprawl, he decides to move the entire plantation several miles away, to a nice spot in a quiet field. And that's when Charlie and his relatives learn that some other descendents of the plantation -- descendents of slaves-- have a vested interest in Midway.
In MOVING MIDWAY, Charlie's cousin (and film critic-turned filmmaker) Godfrey Cheshire turns his camera on his family and the ensuing drama surrounding the move, as the two heirs of Midway past-- black and white-- are unexpectedly brought together for, shall we say, an interesting family reunion.
Tenderhearted, tough-minded, witty and wise, MIDWAY is moving indeed. --The Village Voice
[4 1/2 stars] Fascinating... a superbly crafted cinematic essay on the evolving South and a profound commentary on America's culture and its roots... a beautiful and poignantly personal film. --Alliance for Women Film Journalists
- Photo Gallery: How to Move a House
- Bonus Scenes
Top Customer Reviews
The massive effort that goes into separating a 150-year-old house from the land is just one of many interesting facets to this personal story that touches on the hot-button social issues of race and slavery that this country still grapples with, especially in the South. During the course of the film project documenting the move of the house, Cheshire reaches out to the African-American roots of his family tree, notably Dr. Robert Hinton, a professor at NYU whose grandfather was born into slavery at Midway Plantation. Hinton expresses very different feelings about the plantation house, the land it sits on, and what it means to separate the two.
Moving Midway successfully blends American social history, architecture and a thought-provoking musing on the mythology of the Southern plantation. Threaded throughout is the engaging story of Cheshire's discovery of his unexpected extended family.
Though this is the story of one family's experiences, the themes are universal. Native southern myself, I recognized a lot of my heritage - some of it positive, and some not so much. Both the good and the bad were included in "Moving Midway," nothing hidden, nothing swept under the rug.
The way the past was woven in with the present may be the documentary's best quality. As such it works well for those of us who are familiar with the themes, yet it would also be of interest to those without a direct southern lineage. Historians and genealogists could glean much from this one family's experience, one which is not at all uncommon. Even someone with only a passing interest in the South and its history would come away with a greater understanding of this difficult chapter in our country's history.
This is not like that. Old style... and a great story...
a house on a back road that became a major highway
a family who thought they knew each other but got introduced to 100 relatives who were ignored due to racism and illigitimancy
and frankly the mechanisms and engineering and logistics planning it takes to move a big structure across back roads
Great story, good music, great use of helicopter footage as needed be, great use of shots to depict just how close the highway now was to the house, great history as to the entire mythology of the old southern plantation, good and bad
Most up, for me, seeing the joy of multiple races coming together and realizing they were kin by blood, wanting to hate each other ahead of time, but did not in person, were simply enthralled with the whole history of the place.
Producers suger coated nothing, don't misunderstand me.
It was complicated and messy and confused; they don't neglect that for a second.
An excellent film. I most liked that the director could afford a tripod. I get seasick from this handheld crap on TV all the time. Especially directors who can't abide a talking head on film for 10 seconds, who has to zoom in or out or something because it might be dull. Some of us old farts (I'm late 40s), actually are not strung out on ADD or ADHD drugs. We can handle it. Meantime, this incesant moving of the camera crap other guys pull off makes us nauseated.
I've watched this documentary 4 times now with assorted friends. All have loved it.
I was amazed that the owners of the home did not understand the "hurt"
that plantations still represent to their African-American cousins...
Some family members even used the term yankee, and the "N" word,
demonstrating that their racism is "alive and well".
I honestly had the sense they were moving the house to a private location
where they could once again hang their Confederate flag.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely interesting ......very honest portrayal of a southern family.Published 6 days ago by K. Schmitt
Excellent, a documentary with depth and humor, rich in culture, exploring the poignancy and pain of a complicated yet shared national history.Published 3 months ago by Elaine Clayton
So interesting to experience the history of this family and the old house.Published 7 months ago by J. Benfield
I happened to see a review of this documentary when I was out of town, and purchased a local newspaper. I could hardly wait to return home to see if this was available. Read morePublished 9 months ago by mosesisaiah
This is an excellent documentary. New York film critic Godfrey Cheshire chronicles the moving (literally, the moving) of his family’s plantation home in North Carolina. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Richard B. Schwartz