The Film

Grand Lake Theater Marquee

This revelatory 66 minute documentary is a touching portrait and inspiring homage to Tillie Lerner Olsen. Tillie was an absolutely unique human being who believed in the goodness of human nature and the importance of justice for everyone.

She was a renegade, revolutionary, distinguished fiction and non-fiction writer, feminist, mother, humanist, labor organizer and social activist. Deeply joined to the world, Tillie countered the very core of American writing by immortalizing the lives of working-class women and single mothers. Tillie Olsen's writing, especially Tell Me A Riddle and I Stand Here Ironing is as relevant today as when it was first published over forty years ago when her writing galvanized the literary world.

This superbly entertaining film provides extended interviews with Olsen during the last years of her life deftly interspersed with footage from her readings, lectures, book signings and archive materials. Of special interest are comments from celebrated notable feminists such as Gloria Steinem, Susan Griffin, and Alice Walker.

A Heart In Action exemplifies how one person can make a difference whether in local community or nationally. There is no better time for this documentary to appear. Her spirit and humaneness continue to inspire us as she tells us:
“It's through organization, people getting together that change has happened. I have hope and believe in what human beings can achieve.”

Tillie Olsen - A Heart In Action is a perfect companion film in courses covering Olsen’s literature, this documentary is also recommended for women’s studies, labor studies, political studies, aging issues and American history courses.

Tillie and Ann
Annie & Tillie