The Relentless One Image

The Relentless One

By Andrew Stover | April 18, 2022

“Real estate saved my life,” says Kathleen Black, a resilient woman who survived childhood trauma, changed her name from Katy to Kathleen, and became one of the top real estate professionals in the world. She is the dauntless subject of M. Douglas Silverstein’s 40-minute documentary, The Relentless One. On a superficial level, the filmmaker is here to press record, aim the camera, and listen to Black as she tells her story.

Kathleen Black grew up in what seems like your typical suburbia household with two parents who were firefighters. However, inside was another story. Her father was an alcoholic who was physically and verbally abusive. Her mother didn’t know how to deal with Black, ultimately sending her to a psychiatric ward and kicking her out of the house. This much trauma is enough to keep someone down, but she persevered. Black went on to have two kids and her own business, Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting Inc. Here she uses her experience as a top-tier realtor and motivates others with her techniques for success.

Aptly named, The Relentless One explores Black’s relentless struggle to overcome trauma and self-doubt. She presents herself as extremely confident and headstrong and speaks comfortably about her past without breaking down. But Black’s woeful past will always be a part of her. Suffice to say, she’s a remarkable person and an absorbing subject for a documentary. She’s unafraid to get personal, and some memories are forever ingrained in her mind. For example, Black remembers the time her father hit her mother. The police were called, and he was arrested, brought out in cuffs for Black and her sister to see.

“… a resilient woman who survived childhood trauma…and became one of the top real estate professionals in the world.”

Black acknowledges that she was a difficult child, but she thinks her mother went too far in disciplining her. The filmmaker interviews Black’s mother Mary Carpenter, sister Valerie Black, and her childhood friend Miranda Morrisson, as a way to provide three other perspectives on Black’s life as a teenager. By interviewing people who know and love Black, Silverstein unearths deep-seated emotions.

That said, the incorporation of re-enactments takes away from the rawness of these emotions, as nothing can ever truly emulate the fear and anxiety of being in a tumultuous home situation. In this case, it would have been wise to leave it up to the viewer’s imagination.

There is a lot of conflict here, some of which hasn’t been dealt with fully, but Black is focusing on the future and how her story can motivate others. The Relentless One isn’t quite as polished as it could be on account of poorly executed re-enactments and montages that disrupt the flow. Still, this is an inspiring tale of an extraordinary woman.

The Relentless One (2022)

Directed: M. Douglas Silverstein

Written: Rob Blumenstein

Starring: Kathleen Black, Valerie Black, Mary Carpenter, Miranda Morrisson, Francesca Phillips, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

The Relentless One  Image

"…an inspiring tale of an extraordinary woman."

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