Film critic Godfrey Cheshire goes behind the camera to capture an important chapter in his family history. It begins in 2004 when his cousin announces that their ancestral home, a plantation house in North Carolina, is going to be moved to a new location and the land sold to a shopping mall developer.
The massive effort that goes into separating a 150-year-old house from the land is just one of many interesting facets to this personal story that touches on the hot-button social issues of race and slavery that this country still grapples with, especially in the South. During the course of the film project documenting the move of the house, Cheshire reaches out to the African-American roots of his family tree, notably Dr. Robert Hinton, a professor at NYU whose grandfather was born into slavery at Midway Plantation. Hinton expresses very different feelings about the plantation house, the land it sits on, and what it means to separate the two.
Moving Midway successfully blends American social history, architecture and a thought-provoking musing on the mythology of the Southern plantation. Threaded throughout is the engaging story of Cheshire’s discovery of his unexpected extended family.
I give it 3.5 out of 5 mint julips.