I’ve come to the point in my blog where I feel I need to mention something – I’m not a film critic. This is not a movie review blog, I just talk about movies once in a while and give my opinions. I say this because there are so many good blogs out there dedicated to film review, and I feel I’m doing a disservice if I don’t mention them. Just off the top of my head head you have Zany Zach’s Blog, Fandango Groovers Movie Blog, and (with all due respect to the first two) my personal favorite, Hooray for Movies. All these gentlemen do a fantastic job reviewing movies on a regular basis, and I am nowhere near their league. Please visit the above blogs for you normal movie-reviewing needs.
That being said, here’s a half-assed movie review. 🙂
I’m not big on the use of hyperbole. Sure, I have my go-to phrases that I overuse: awesome, hilarious, disgusting all get tossed around pretty liberally. Rarely, though, do I use words that exaggerate what I really think. I tell you that so I can tell you this: over the Labor Day weekend I watched a film that was in turn depressing, heartwarming, shocking, heart-wrenching, infuriating, and inspiring.
When Andrew Bagby was murdered by his ex-girlfriend, his lifelong best friend and filmmaker Kurt Kuenne was devastated. Growing up, Andrew was always a willing participant in Kurt’s movies, even investing in one of Kurt’s projects as they got older. In the wake of Andrew’s death, Kurt decided he wanted to make one last film with Andrew, and set off on an international journey to interview anyone and everyone he could find who knew him.
What starts as an extremely intimate look at people’s fond memories of a lost friend and family member (which are somehow sad and funny at the same time) quickly evolves into something much more complicated when Andrew’s killer reveals she is pregnant with his baby. Andrew’s parents follow the killer to Newfoundland, where she’s fled after committing the murder, to fight for custody of the child. The film chronicles the Bagby’s fight both with the killer and the insanely incompetent legal system.
To say much more would lessen the impact of the movie, so all I’ll say is this: I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt such a wide array of emotions while watching a movie, documentary or otherwise. The connection with the people you’re watching is so deep that as events unfold they come as a punch to the gut.
The film isn’t perfect. In some parts it feels a bit amateurish, but that’s easily forgiven due to the powerful subject matter. There’s a good chance you’ll be left feeling some combination of depressed, heartbroken, or downright pissed off.
Whenever you’re ready, you can watch the movie in its entirety for free here – Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father