Director Rachel Mason’s first documentary is an amusing study of accidental allies. Her mother Karen insists that there are better subjects for the film, but what would be better than the mom-and-pop bookstore that sells sex toys and gay pornography? The subject alone is inherently interesting, as these mild-mannered Jewish parents describe their unintentional journey through day-to-day selling and distribution. However, Mason is able to expand her discussion by contrasting her parents’ actions against the wider conservative moves done by the US government in the 1980s. Amidst censorship and epidemics, Circus of Books stood as a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community, made possible by her parents. In learning about the store, we (and Mason) learn more about her parents. While their job choice was unplanned, the journey of accepting those other than themselves is one that we all should take.
What did you think? Who should watch it?