In 1991, Anita Hill appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to recount the sexual harassment she experienced while working for then-Supreme-Court-Justice-nominee Clarence Thomas.
Now, 25 years later, HBO is recreating the events surrounding the hearings for their new film, Confirmation.
The result is controversial, poignant, and captivating. Kerry Washington takes on Anita Hill to Wendell Pierce’s Clarence Thomas and the two play their roles to perfection.
While the film is certainly far from flawless, the entertainment quality is on point and takes the viewer on an emotional journey through the pain and torture that Hill endures as she attempts to stand up for herself and tell the truth (although, that in itself is controversial of course).
But most importantly, the film regales the importance of Anita Hill and her role in bringing sexual harassment in the workplace to not only the forefront of politics, but also of society. Her opening statement alone is one of the first — if not the first — televised moment in which what it means to be sexually harassed begins to get a definition.
Washington’s portrayal of Hill is powerful and commanding and she breathes life into an issue that remains to this day, largely under-discussed.
The film also succeeds in showing the politics that went on behind the scenes that, while had nothing to do with Hill herself, impacted her reputation greatly in addition to steering the outcome of the nomination.
Despite Hill’s courage, Thomas is nominated to the Supreme Court in the shortest margin in history, 52-48.
The film ends with a short wrap-up of the immediate after-effects of Hill’s testimony but it sadly neglects to show the full impact Anita Hill has had over the last 25 years.
Confirmation is a film that everyone should see, if only to be reminded of why it’s so difficult for women to come forward with charges of sexual harassment in the workplace, even today.