FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 2018 -- Director Rachel Dretzin, who cut her teeth in the film industry writing and directing Frontline for many years, has developed this interesting documentary based on the book of the same name by Andrew Solomon.


It's about how children cope with their families and then life when they don't "turn out" they way they were expected. It's not about the kid born with a silver spoon who had to go to state college instead of Harvard because he was partying too hard. No, it's about children with disabilities or traits that didn't agree with what their families expected.

Andrew uses his own family as a beginning. Andrew came out as gay and was rejected by his parents because they felt it was something that could be fixed, but he wasn't interested in fixing it. So, they kicked him to the curb and let him go his own way...forever! That is where Andrew starts, but his research takes him to families with children with physical disabilities, mental disabilities and one family that had to cope with their son who did the ultimate "act out".


For the most part the film focuses on first the unique situations, the family attitudes, how the child coped with the situation and how the families coped with the situations. The children included a child afflicted with dwarfism, a child with cognitive issues, and a child who commits a heinous crime.


Each case presented different challenges for the child, then the family. It is interesting how the different families coped, especially the family of the kid who committed the crime. Instead of long sob stories, each case is examined in segments with the segments edited together in a compelling manner that induces thought more than pity.


Andrew Solomon's research led him to some amazing situations and some amazing outcomes. Outcomes are a good thing with documentary and Dretzin makes sure each scenario has an outcome.


"Far From the Tree" is a very compelling, deeply profound look at family responses to off spring with challenges, be it physical or mental.   -- GRADE B --   GEOFF BURTON