PERFORMING ARTS

Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker

Hachette. Mar. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780316415613. $29. FILM
COPY ISBN
With this candid memoir, Sonnenfeld (b. 1953) traces his journey from a troubled childhood to success as a sought-after filmmaker. Growing up in New York City, he contended with a philandering father, a neurotic mother (when Sonnenfeld was five, his father woke him up, asking him to talk his mother out of suicide), and a relative who sexually molested him. After graduating from film school, he worked as a cinematographer: first, briefly, on pornographic movies, then with the Coen brothers on Blood Simple and Raising Arizona. At the urging of producer Scott Rudin, Sonnenfeld agreed to direct The Addams Family—which launched a career that would include Get Shorty and three Men in Black features. Here, he mines scores of details, from the absurd to the mundane, painting a vivid picture of life on and off the set. A gifted storyteller, Sonnenfeld finds comedy in almost every situation—including his own pain. However, he turns serious, too, as he looks back on his dysfunctional upbringing. Above all, he stresses, anyone can overcome hurdles and thrive.
VERDICT While film enthusiasts will appreciate Sonnenfeld’s witty anecdotes, this self-deprecating memoir will also resonate with anyone seeking an inspirational story.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month