Variety describes it as a film "mixing ferocity with tenderness, delicacy with tenacity" — exactly like the unusual school it explores. In Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, one of Britain's leading documentary filmmakers takes a vérité look at Oxford's Mulberry Bush School for emotionally disturbed children. Mulberry's heroically forbearing staff greets extreme, sometimes violent behavior with only consolation and gentle restraint. Kim Longinotto's unblinking camera captures an arduous process and a nearly unhinged environment, but it also records the daily dramas of troubled kids trying to survive and the moments of hope they achieve with Mulberry's clear-eyed staff.
From death on the streets of Crown Heights to director Steven Spielberg's controversial visit to a predominantly black high school in East Oakland, the film resists simple analysis and treads provocatively on the fault lines of racial coalition and conflict.