Far from the Tree

93+ min. Rachel Dretzin, dist. by IFC Films, www.ifcfilms.com. 2019. DVD UPC 030306958392. $24.95. SDH subtitles. SOC SCI
OrangeReviewStarEmmy Award-winning director Dretzin brings Andrew Solomon's 2012 best seller Far from the Tree to life in this eye-opening, uplifting documentary. Solomon, growing up gay in the 1970s, explored in the book his feelings of familial rejection and isolation, studying parents and their journeys with children that fall outside society's norms. Dretzin, with great sensitivity, visually expresses Solomon's call for a reexamination of what we consider difference. Vignettes featuring a mother and her adult son with Down syndrome finding his place in the world; a family whose son has committed a terrible crime; a family learning to communicate with their nonverbal son who has autism; and married little people striving to have a child all explore the idea of unconditional love but don't sugarcoat the struggles. The disparate experiences all have the same message: it is possible to honor "broken-ness."
VERDICT Highly recommended for educators, medical professionals, caretakers, and loved ones and friends of those who are "different."
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