Film Review: Meet The Hilters – MANIFF 2015

Meet The Hilters

Meet The Hilters makes International Premiere at MANIFF 2015

From the award winning director/producer Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) and director Matt Ogens (Confessions of a Super Hero) comes a new feature documentary Meet The Hilters, exploring how your name can define your identity and your future.

Meet The Hilters has a good mixture of individuals, from those that have a historical link to the surname Hitler to those that simply named their children to create controversy. The film explores the complex issues of immigration, racism and tolerance yet the characters followed are interesting in their own right without the name.

Meet The Hilters looks into how bullying can affect your identity, being a teenager is already tough without having a name that makes you a target for unjustified hate, does it make you stronger? The surname Hitler certainly courses a lifetime of bullying and grief for some of the characters, but then there are places, and people who the name has no meaning too. In India for example there are restaurants and shops with the name Hitler. Should we mock the name in order to create tolerance? Like Jim Riswold who creates satirical art around Adolf Hitler. Do you beat it?

The film could have explored their experiences a little deeper if it had followed them for a little longer. Emily for instance leads a very guarded life. She lives in a town where everyone knows her and her family and so her name means little to them, but this could be a very different issue when she is removed from that social bubble and goes to college. Her experiences with that name might not be as easy as they are now.

Is it right to take a child away from their parents because of their beliefs? Neo-nazi Heath Campbell named his child Adolf Hitler. He’s explains why but doesn’t understand how this could affect the child as he grew up. He try’s to fight the system to get his child back but is this just for him to make a statement?

And then there’s Gene Hitler who can trace his family name back to 1700. As an old man who had the name before Adolf Hitlers atrocities came to light you can see why for him changing his name would be hard. He personally has done nothing wrong so why would he change his name. If you have the surname West would you change it because of Fred And Rosemary West? Or Shipman for that matter?

Meet The Hilters shows you not judge a book by its cover. Not to judge someone on their name, but by their actions. There are nice people with that name in the film and not very nice people with that name in the film. And it’s shows their experience with that but it doesn’t do it adequately. It’s a sensational documentary title that will get it talked about so is that enough?

Is a name just a name?

3 out of 5 stars

Meet The Hilters made its International Premiere at MANIFF 2015 on Friday 10 July

Meet The Hilters – UK Trailer