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The Body Beautiful

The Body Beautiful

This bold, stunning exploration of a white mother who undergoes a radical mastectomy and her Black daughter who embarks on a modeling career reveals the profound effects of body image and the strain of racial and sexual identity on their charged, intensely loving bond. At the heart of Onwurah’s brave excursion into her mother’s scorned sexuality is a provocative interweaving of memory and fantasy. The filmmaker plumbs the depths of maternal strength and daughterly devotion in an unforgettable tribute starring her real-life mother, Madge Onwurah.

“Somber yet fanciful. Achieves a painful honesty.”
Janet Maslin, New York Times

“As cathartic as it is transgressive.”
Amy Taubin, Village Voice


Main credits

Onwurah, Ngozi (screenwriter)
Onwurah, Ngozi (film director)
Onwurah, Madge (actor)
Onwurah, Madge (narrator)
Martin, Sian (actor)
Solomon, Lin (film producer)
Rowell, Rosie (narrator)

Other credits

Director of photography, Peter Collis; editor, Liz Webber; original music score, Anthony Quigley & Johnathon Hirst.

Docuseek subjects

Distributor subjects

Africa, Black Diaspora, Body Image, Breast Cancer, Health, Motherhood, Racism


African American Studies, Motherhood, Sexuality; "The Body Beautiful"; Women Make Movies