Reviewer's grade: C
"Trail of Tears" weaves fascinating quotes with photographs, commentary and dramatic re-creation to educate about one of the most inhuman acts in American history: removal of the Cherokee to Indian Territory in 1838 and 1839. Produced by an American Indian company, the film doesn't avoid the tribe's slave-owning past or Cherokee-on-Cherokee violence; its re-creations almost avoid cheese; and James Earl Jones even narrates " but someone forgot about pacing. It plods, making sheer tragedy as compelling as a textbook read. "How could this happen?" a descendant of former Cherokee Principal Chief John Ross asks of forced removal. It's unfortunate the same could be said of the film.
" Emily Jerman