Documentary Review: ‘Taking Stock’

An honest, heart to heart depiction that manages to form a connection right till the end, documentary ‘Taking stock’ is unique, yet interesting. It follows a month long journey of filmmaker Ben Stillerman with his father Clive Stillerman in South Africa. Proud owner of a retail goods business ‘Benoni Discount stores’, Clive has been running the family business, passed down from his father. It follows his journey from the younger days to responsible adulthood loaded with immense passion and enthusiasm.

With successful branches at three prominent locations in South Africa, Clive comes across as a dynamic, ambitious, determined and hard-working individual. But beneath all the confidence and maturity lies a strict boss who adopts a stern face with his employees. In an effort to be successful and turn his business into a bigger model than his father, Clive has worked hard to reach where he stands today. As filmmaker Ben communicates with the employees, friends, customers and family of Clive, he hopes to dig deep into their bond. While capturing the stores and its day-to-day functioning within his lens, Ben explores the changing form of their relationship too.

Complete honesty and simplicity is the highlight of this documentary, slated to release on 15th February. Without any sugar-coated or glamorous angels to the story, it presents the real picture of a father-son relationship. A son who desires to pursue a new career line instead of following his dad’s footsteps in managing the business, it depicts the reality of most of the traditional family businesses today.

Caught between creating their own name and continuing the family legacy, many young individuals face the classic question ‘Who will carry the family business ahead?’

Ben Stillerman addresses these aspects in an excellent way that forms a bond with the audience. He strives to understand his father after all these years of hard work. Everything from his father’s strict behavior with the employees to his constant negligence towards the family, divorce with ex-wife to new bonds with a little son are explored in this film. It comes across as a relatable tale, as if it opens the window to what happens in most of the households. Though the film focusses on one single man and his business, it approaches the universal issue of ‘generation gap’. It presents the classic rift between millennials with their independent thought process against the older generation who believe in stability and safety.

It also captures the various shades of affection between father and son. From heart to heart conversations to emotional melt downs, photography adventures to routine business transactions in the stores, Ben’s efforts to connect back with his father are marvelous. Since he realizes he cannot continue the business after his father, he decides to pay a tribute through this documentary. Instead of stocks and stores, he chooses artistic lens to celebrate his father’s incredible journey.

Watch this honest tale as Ben and Clive go from one aspect to another, in an attempt to answer it all. A simple account of hard work, sincerity, relations and conduct, ‘Taking stock’ is definitely worth watching for the entire family.

Streaming worldwide on Thursday, February 15. Check out the website.


A freelance writer with love for movies, Lavanya contributes articles about entertainment, lifestyle, relationships, women, environment and food. Blogging about her experiences, adventures, memories and thoughts,she likes to stay connected with her readers. While enjoying movies and series based on comedy, family drama and social significance, Lavanya loves the opportunity to pen down her reviews for the audience.

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