Imagine it’s 1964, and after many vigorous efforts, you and your spouse are unable to conceive a child. So you so the next best thing, you adopt a child. Then imagine that you and your spouse actually do conceive a year into the new adoption. And then you manage to get pregnant yet again with a third child. So now you have three beautiful boys, all different, all special, al perfect in their own way. Now imagine that these three sons grow up to be vastly different people that you would ever imagine, and that difference threats their interrelationships and the stability of the family as a whole.
This is the premise of Prodigal Sons. Editor Kimberly Reed delved into her personal history and tells the story complicated sibling rivalry between herself, her older brother Marc, and her younger brother Todd.
The film explores how Marc, having survived a terrible car crash, is plagues with seizures and violent mood swings, compounding his feelings of inferiority to his brothers. That inferiority is further complicated by the fact that both his brothers “abandon their masculinity.” First when over-achiever, football star brother Paul decides to transition into become a woman, becoming Kim; second in his youngest brother Todd’s “choice” to be gay.
Shot in video, the documentary is gripping in its verité style as it deconstructs the roles each person plays within their own unique family structure. The documentary emphasizes how fragile that family structure can be when shaken by the tremors of individuality. A sobering, sensitive and honest look at identity, acceptance and unconditional love, Prodigal Sons is a moving, thoughtful piece that should be enjoyed by families as a family.
Prodigal Sons is a official Documentary selection of the 2008 AFI Fest happening now until November 9, 2008.