Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! For the price of one thin ticket, witness an intimate documentary account of the tragic rise and fall of Violet and Daisy Hilton, the world’s most celebrated conjoined twins. Long before reality television beamed anomalies and curiosities of medicine into living rooms on a weekly basis, people got their “freak” on while seated underneath tents on circus midways. For years, the sisters topped the list of most sought-after “born freak” acts, but their private life kept them sequestered from public view. Unless, of course, you bought a ticket. The ease with which they were exploited became a press agent’s dream, the girls’ greatest torment, and director Leslie Zemeckis’ touchstone of compassion. In the spirit of the dozens of county fair and circus midways given passing mention, Zemeckis stitches on as an extra added attraction, a stylishly concise history of that beloved American institution, the carnival sideshow. Well worth your time (2014) — Scott Marks
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