In Jackson Heights

In Jackson Heights ★★★½


A.V. Club review. Eye-opening even for me, though I lived in New York for 17 years. None of my neighborhoods (East Village, Bushwick, Park Slope) were this vibrantly multicultural, and Wiseman chronicles the diversity without editorializing, avoiding the heavier editing touch that somewhat marred At Berkeley. He still has a tendency to get heavily invested in people/scenes I don't find all that interesting—here, I confess to growing antsy during a couple of very lengthy personal anecdotes told at what I gather is some sort of community center for undocumented immigrants, in the same way that I might tune out watching raw footage of, say, an AA meeting. (Don't mean to equate immigrants with addicts; it's the narrating-my-struggle aspect, which always feels to me like someone reading a book report synopsis written in the first person.) And I still question whether most of his recent films really need to be quite so long...though, at the same time, I'd be (unknowingly) sorry had he cut the beleaguered young woman at Councilman Dromm's office who spends several minutes deflecting an irate caller ("That would actually be a violation of federal law, ma'am," she says wearily at one point), or the group of people preparing for their citizenship exam who get whitesplained (sorry) their reasons for wanting to be Americans. And I'd happily watch an entire feature about the dude who instructs prospective cabbies. If only actual New York cabbies were that entertaining.