My Flesh and Blood - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

My Flesh and Blood Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 11, 2011
This documentary features a family composed of one adopting mother and eleven disabled children.
It's almost impossible to write a review about this film. I can say for certain only that it was well-made, able to intimately capture its subjects' lives. Beyond that, there isn't much I can write without caveat.
When the film first introduces us to Susan Tom -- during the first fifteen minutes -- we have already seen one of her children threaten to kill one or more of the rest. Additionally, we've met Faith, who has been burned to the point that she has no capability to grow hair, her skin looking like it's pasted-on putty, and Anthony, who has open sores across his face and body. Xenia, who has no legs, looks like she has it easy in comparison. My first thought about Susan Tom was one of condemnation. It seemed to me that she was mixing dangerous brew because the work that must go in to caring for all of these children with all of their ailments must mean that some needs get ignored. I thought that Susan Tom's behavior was motivated by a deep need to feel loved and admired, and such behavior ultimately worked to the detriment of the people she tries to help. As I continued watching the film, I saw this play out in Susan's relationship with Margaret, her biological daughter and the person, who, for me, becomes the most sympathetic "character' in the film. Margaret has some heart-wrenching moments when she begs her occupied mother for attention and approval but is ultimately told to "wait until tomorrow morning."
But this is a person's real life that I'm writing about, so I feel uncomfortable attempting to be objective or judgmental about it, and I don't think I would be able to say what I just wrote to Tom's face. Why? Because she's caring for people whom society treats with little but pity. Though she falters at times, most of the time she accomplishes a daunting task.
Overall, though my first reaction is to find Susan Tom's actions reprehensible even as the film attempts to convince me to celebrate her, I can't say that my first reaction held true throughout the remainder of the film.
Super Reviewer
½ November 9, 2006
Broke my heart... The truth of it all, these kids (although handicapped/disabled in their ways) have a better home life than most of the families I know. Scary thought, but so true.
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2010
Humane, absorbing and life-affirming documentary about a unconventional family made up of one mum and eleven varyingly-disabled adopted children. It shouldn't work but it does, thanks to the matter- of-fact handling of the subject by the director and the children. No mawkishness or halo-polishing here, and a good one to watch the next time you think you've got it tough. ..
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2008
Hard to watch at times, but well worth the ride. This angel of a lady deserves some kind of award, if she hasn't already.
July 20, 2009
Emotionally manipulative snuff film. I'm indifferent to these sort of documentaries. On one side, there's the fact that it isn't boring based on its atypical content; on the other, it's moralistic on a small familial scale, arguing some things about nature that I won't address because people will ignorantly point me out as a heartless SOB. Sort of sensationalist if you ponder how the filmmakers found out about the nonconsanguineous family. And it's difficult to watch people writhe in physical and mental agony. Damn breeders, quit your uneducated and irrational copulation!
½ January 4, 2009
No words of mine can do this film the justice it deserves. Its humanity changed my perspective on life.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2007
Adopting just one of these children would be a daunting task. I can't imagine caring for 11 special needs children. God bless Susan Tom!
June 11, 2007
This is worth a watch. Sometimes you forget how much someone has to sacrifice to show love to another. This helped me remember that if I am blessed enough to be able to live a "normal" life, then I need to spend it helping those who aren't. 1
September 22, 2006
WARNING: you will cry, and you will cringe, and you will remember what you saw and heard for a LONG time.
½ September 22, 2013
A great documentary. I wish I could be 1/4 of the woman she is. We need more woman like her! I saw this documentary ages ago....just saw a post on Facebook that reminded me of this. Love you Susan!
June 9, 2012
This is one of the best documentaries we've ever seen. Touching, compelling, beautiful. Don't fail to watch the "extras". This is a film well worth will make your "troubles 'd jour'" seem trivial by comparison. But this is not a downer...the incredible mom, Susan, says, "every child has a special need" and that seemed to be her credo,whether or not any one of her 11 children were disabled. She is a incredible as are her children. Marvelous.
August 23, 2011
A fantastic documentary about a woman raising 11 children with special needs.
August 22, 2011
There are angels among us. If you ever need to be reminded to live with an attitude of gratitude, this movie will set you straight.
½ June 26, 2011
At times really hard to watch, but one of the most beautiful documentaries I have seen in a while.
June 18, 2011
I saw this movie on 6-19-11. I don't understand why everyone is commending Susan Tom for adopting 11 children. She did it because she was lonely (as said by her mother). Yes, having these kids in a permanent home and out of foster care or orphanages is definitely a better option, but has no control of the home. When they show Margaret and she says she HAS to take care of her siblings because her mother wants to go out (she says that), and when she was trying to talk to her mom about how she feels, all Susan would do is interrupt and ignore her and tell her that they would talk in the morning, I felt sad for Margaret. The Tom's family is further disrupted by Joe, and lack of parenting. (I have a 7 year old bipolar-schizophrenic-ODD-CCD-ADHD son.And a 6 year old daughter. I am a strong advocate of Positive Discipline.) I saw no discipline at all. She allows super violent games in the home and Joe terrorizes the other children to the point where her daughter believes she is relieved when he dies.
I do applaud the children. Their view of life is amazing. The movie itself was done beautifully. But I will not give undeserved kudos to Susan.
½ May 22, 2011
I could very easily become this person...
January 30, 2011
This documentary is difficult to watch, because its heroism and inspirational nature is paired with social tragedy. It is tender and courageous, yet I can't help but feel we were given a glimpse of only a few of the "problem" children or the most sympathetic ones, giving us a rather one-sided view that makes it difficult to fully call the Tom family a success story in the end. Still, it is worth a watch!
November 15, 2010
A great, inspiring and heartbreaking movie, showing that you should live and enjoy your life with all the burden given to you.

Ein großartiger inspirierender und herzzerreissender Film, der zeigt, dass du dein Leben mit allen Bürden, die dir auferlegt werden, leben kannst!
November 4, 2010
Very inspiring and moving. Not so much a film about handicapped children, but more about the up's and down's that we all share in life.
December 11, 2009
Completely heartbreaking movie that will make you ashamed of everything you've ever taken for granted.
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