Great achievements don't guarantee great documentary––or, as A Journey In My Mother's Footsteps proves, they don't even secure a mediocre one. Dina Rosenmeier's film about her mother's work with Terre des Hommes, a Danish humanitarian organization that assists Indian street children and orphans, is entirely hindered by its sloppy construction, teetering between self-indulgent travelogue (with requisite voiceover) and promotional video. Rosenmeier shallowly recounts what it was like to grow up with her mother away working abroad, then tours the charitable homes momma helped establish in some vaguely-defined attempt to “understand” her childhood. The fact Rosenmeier turned out to be an actress––coupled with the awkward insert shots of herself during talking head interviews––says far more about the possible psychological implications of her mother's absence than anything explicitly stated. But not all goodness is eclipsed by platitudes: the glimpsed successes of Terre des Hommes should stir some to action, and in the end, Rosenmeier vows to take up her mother’s cause in lieu of adopting an adorable Indian baby. For the children’s sake, may she be a better philanthropist than director.
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