The Public

Please Note: This film is no longer showing at Railroad Square Cinema

An important and moving story is told with humor and stirring idealism in THE PUBLIC, Emilio Estevez’s remarkable film about an urban Public Library that’s an informal daytime living space and community center for the homeless as well. It boasts a great cast including Alec Baldwin, Gabrielle Union, Christian Slater, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright and Estevez himself. An unusually bitter Arctic blast has made its way to downtown Cincinnati and the front doors of the public library where the action of the film takes place. The story revolves around the library patrons, many of whom are homeless, mentally ill and marginalized, as well as an exhausted and overwhelmed staff of librarians who often act as “de-facto social workers” and care for those regular patrons. At odds with library officials over how to handle the extreme weather event, the patrons turn the building into a homeless shelter for the night by staging an “Occupy” sit in. What begins as an act of civil disobedience becomes a stand-off with police and a rush-to-judgment media constantly speculating about what’s really happening inside the building. PG-13. 122 Min.