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An intimate view of a great American

Based on 30 hours of intimate interviews, the superb new PBS documentary Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words allows the Supreme Court Justice to tell his remarkable story, just as he’d narrate it to family members or close friends. His recollections come alive through expertly edited still photos and film footage, showing his rise from desperate poverty in the segregated South to appointment to the nation’s highest court.

His confirmation process — nearly derailed by last-minute, clearly dubious charges by one-time aide Anita Hill — makes for riveting viewing, highlighting a much-younger Joe Biden’s bumbling role as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The two-hour film is rated PG-13 for some of the salacious aspects of Anita Hill’s testimony, but viewers of all ages will feel inspired by the heartfelt patriotism, and deep religious faith that allowed Justice Thomas to transcend every obstacle. Created Equal, a masterful piece of work, clearly counts among the year’s best films.

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