Lily Gladstone Questions Martin Scorsese’s Ability to Narrate an Osage Story

Lily Gladstone has responded to criticisms of Martin Scorsese‘s latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon, which tells the true story of a string of murders in 1920s Osage Country from a non-Osage perspective.

Gladstone plays Mollie, an Osage woman who marries Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), and many of the film’s critics have noted how dominant Burkhart’s story was to the lengthy epic.

While the film has received almost universal acclaim, some felt its exploration of prolific greed and racism should have been told from the perspective of the Osage. On that, Gladstone told Variety that while Scorsese was a “titan”, he is “not bigger than history”.

While acknowledging the filmmaker’s work was a “major shaper” of it, she continued to say his choice to base his film on David Grann’s book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, was a difficult task.

“It’s the tricky nature of a story like this,” she said. “You have more representation, but coming from somebody who’s not from the community. So you always have to look at it with a different angle. And there’s nothing wrong with that; you just have to be very aware of the film that you’re watching and what lens it was made through.”

Scorsese worked closely with members of the Osage tribe, some of whom echoed the concerns about the film’s perspective. Christopher Cote, an Osage language consultant for the film, admitted it “isn’t made for an Osage audience.” Some felt unease at the idea of a film crew coming into an Indigenous community and retelling their story.

Gladstone, who comes from northern Montana’s Blackfeet Indian Reservation, said that when she grew up, she saw “big Hollywood film crews rolling through once in a while”.

She continued: “I was very familiar with what it felt like to have people coming in from the outside wanting to tell a story with your community. And they’re not always there in the best interests.”


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