Documentary Review: ‘Queen Mimi’

Review by Lauryn Angel

After leaving her adulterous husband when she was in her fifties, Maria Haist took to a life on the streets, becoming estranged from her daughters as well as her husband. Mimi eventually found a home in a Santa Monica laundromat – where she quickly became a fixture. Mimi’s bold personality made her a favorite among the laundromat’s clientele – including Zack Galifianakis and Renee Zellweger. Mimi is taken in by the community, who make sure she is cared for.

On the surface, Queen Mimi is a documentary about a local eccentric. It’s clear that writer/director Yaniv Rokah and the people he interviews care about Mimi and admire her perseverance and determination to find the bright side in her situation. On a deeper level, though, the film explores the plight of the elderly and the homeless in our country. Mimi is fortunate enough to find a home for herself, but not every person who finds themselves in Mimi’s situation will be so lucky. By exploring Mimi’s situation, Rokah invites the viewer to consider the situation of others in a similar plight. How did that person seeking shelter in a laundromat end up there? And what can we do to help? Mimi herself reminds us that when we find ourselves in seemingly desperate situations to keep fighting and to never give up hope.

Releases on Friday, May 13.

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