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#HotDocs22 Review: Hunting in Packs

May 2, 2022

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2022 Hot Docs Film Festival runs from April 28th to May 8th in Toronto, more information on tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

In her documentary Hunting in Packs, director Chloe Sosa-Sims follows a trio female politicians across three countries whose views vary across the political spectrum. There’s Jess Phillips, a Labour Party MP in the UK; Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat Congresswoman in Seattle, Washington; and Canada’s own Michelle Rempel Garner, the firebrand Conservative MP for Alberta’s Calgary Nose Hill riding.

The film unfolds across three separate timelines. Phillips is trying to pass legislation on domestic violence in the wake of Brexit and in the lead up to Boris Johnson’s election; Jayapal is trying to pass a healthcare bill in the midst of the heated 2020 presidential race; and Rempel Garner is fighting to win back her seat in the 2019 election and bring oil and gas jobs back to her province, while mentoring other young women running under the Conservative banner. The challenges faced by women in what is still largely seen as a male-dominated field is what connects their three stories.

In their own ways, the women each have disagreements with their respective party leaders. Phillips has publicly clashed with Jeremy Corbyn, and Jayapal has to rally around Joe Biden as the nominee despite him not really being a progressive. Meanwhile, Rempel Garner, who is a strong supporter of women’s rights and the LGBTQ community, is running under Andrew Scheer, a leader whose social conservative views ultimately sunk her party’s chances of forming government in 2019 (those who followed the lead up to this election will know that it had enough drama around it to have been the sole focus of its own documentary).

By trying to balance these three stories across an 82 minute runtime, Hunting in Packs occasionally has the feel of a glossy overview, but if the film leaves you wanting to know more about these individual women then that’s not really a bad thing. With onscreen quotes from them driving home specific points and serving as chapter headings, Hunting in Packs offers up an engaging and fast-paced introduction to these three politicians.

Screenings:

Monday, May 2nd – 9:00 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Thursday, May 5th – 12:30 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

The film is also available to stream across Canada for five days starting on May 3rd at 9:00 AM.

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