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‘Through the Night’ Review: Tucking In Children When Their Parents Can’t

The lean and powerful documentary “Through The Night” centers on Dee’s Tots Childcare, a day care center in New Rochelle, N.Y., that provides 24-hour service for local families. Deloris and Patrick Hogan run the center out of their home seven days a week. In family fashion, the kids call Patrick Pop Pop, and everyone calls Deloris Nunu.

The couple make dinner and set up good-night calls for moms who have to work overnight, sacrificing sleep to watch over kids who don’t have anyone else once the lights go out. And Nunu and Patrick dry tears from both children and their parents.

But the pair are getting older. Nunu’s body aches, her nerves are going numb. She’s spent her life with her arms wrapped around exhausted families, and the effort has taken a physical toll.

The director Loira Limbal faithfully follows the day-to-day lives of Nunu, Patrick and their client families. It’s infuriating watching their quotidian frustrations — enraging that the United States could produce working days that never end and pay so low that parents need to work three jobs into the night. Yet explicit references to public policy come only in passing. Nunu mentions, for instance, the government funds that help her clients pay for child care; in other scenes, an overworked single mom hunts for the holy grail of a decently paid full-time job.

The subjects in the movie don’t anticipate help coming anytime soon. Instead, “Through the Night” bears witness to the struggles of these working people, to their tenderness and mercy. Limbal keeps her gaze steady, and her vérité rigor becomes an act of solidarity.

Through the Night
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes. Watch through virtual cinemas.

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