Lacey Schwartz grew up Jewish in Woodstock, New York. Her copper skin was attributed to her father’s Sicilian grandfather. This excellent film documents her gradual discovery of her true story. It is made even more fascinating because Schwartz, beautiful and brilliant (JD, Georgetown law school graduate) is the filmmaker. Some of the scenes, especially between her and parents are so intimate it’s hard to imagine how Schwartz convinced her parents to participate. The film is not a downer (not really a spoiler alert–she is currently a community activist and married to an attorney and House representative. (when you see him you will wonder why he’s not running for president!!). Don’t confuse this with Mike Leigh’s excellent fictional film “Secrets and Lies”. That movie (which I also recommend) is less about race than it is about class (of course class in “Little White Lie” is a subtext–how could it not be?). “Little White Lie” is more about identity and family bonds. Because the film is short (an hour) some gaps need to be filled in by the viewer. Some questions remain open only to conjecture. There is much to discuss about the film. I would love to hear from you.
This is a stunning little film. It touches on so many issues: racism, feminism, denial in the face of the obvious and, of course, the age-old suspicion about paternity. The fact that Jewishness is inherited maternally makes perfect sense (although I’ve always thought there was misplaced paranoia and misogyny hidden in that otherwise very practical tradition).
It’s impossible to like either parent, but especially Lacey’s mother. It would be different if the year she conceived Lacey was 1950, but 1968? She seems so vapid and unapologetic about keeping the secret for so many years – her best excuse was that it was the safest choice economically and culturally. Ugh! And then the father not being able to feel the same love for his daughter once he found out? The most remarkable thing is that the film remains neutral – the indictment of the parents is left to the audience. It would be interesting to know more about Lacey’s relationship with her parents today.
This doesn’t even touch on the racial issues which were really thought-provoking. The fact that Lacey is extraordinarily beautiful and light-skinned has certainly helped her to survive and do as well as she has (lots to discuss there), but her immediate recognition and acceptance of and by her black peers was especially poignant.
Her husband is extremely handsome and seems like a real mensch and perfect match, but here’s hoping Lacey will run for president.