CHANNEL24 REVIEWS: Worn Stories (5/5 Stars)
Worn Stories is a warm tonic for the heartache of the last year, sharing beautifully human narratives woven together by masterful storytelling techniques.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In this funny, heartfelt and moving docuseries, real people unpack the fascinating and quirky stories around their most meaningful pieces of clothing. WHAT WE THOUGHT:Clothes are more than just pieces of stitched up material that covers our naked bodies. They can tell stories about our lives, identities, and cultures and could even be passed down generations, a physical memory of family connection.
In Netflix'sWorn Stories, the focus is on the single piece of clothing that embodies a defining moment in the lives of a diversity of human beings - from everyday people to astronauts to celebrities to survivors. It was born from a collection of memoirs by Emily Spivack, an artist and writer that's made a career out of analysing what we put on our backs - and why.
Each episode's stories are curated according to a theme, like growing up, new beginnings, survival and lost and found. Some of the tales are quick, while others are more fleshed out, either through a glimpse into the storytellers' lives or through unique animation produced in various styles. Unironically, the first story is about the absence of clothes as the series takes a tour of a nudist community and the negative association with wearing clothes. headtopics.com
You will laugh, be puzzled and shed a few tears over and over again with tales that might hit a little too close to home from shockingly real people. A gay man recounts his aerobics days during the height of the Aids pandemic through a pair of spandex shorts. A survivor from the Miracle on Hudson crash talks about how he hasn't worn the boots he wore on that fateful day ever again. Two cousins laugh about a wild story to recover a stolen coat that brought them closer together. A non-binary teenager gushes over their outfit for their gender-neutral Jewish coming-of-age ritual - b'nai mitzvah. They even follow a dry cleaner that specially cleans many celebrities' couture clothes - including a cameo from Nicholas Cage's denim jacket.
For a docuseries, the way these tales are woven together is fresh and different to others, focusing on bright colours and the stories' fun. The filmmakers, including the original writer Spivack, rightly spent the time to source just the right type of interviewees, hanging on their every word. Not a single story was boring, contrived or pretentious. They were genuinely told with candour, comfort and love - something that you can only get in a supportive environment fostered by the filmmakers themselves.
There are many stories - and luckily many episodes - to keep you tuned intoWorn Stories, but I'd advise resisting the temptation to binge them all in one go. Spread it out so that you have time to internalise and reflect on these wonderful yarns and even think about what stories your own clothes might tell about you. When you've had a long day and feel like the world is just one big dark hole, put on an episode of this heartwarming series to remind you of your humanity and maybe heal, just a little bit, from this terrible last year.
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