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Tell Them Who You Are

Tell Them Who You Are (2005)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 64
Fresh: 56 | Rotten: 8

The dysfunctional interaction between director and subject is fascinating, poignant, and revealing of both men and of father-son relationships in general.


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 3

The dysfunctional interaction between director and subject is fascinating, poignant, and revealing of both men and of father-son relationships in general.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 928


My Rating

Movie Info

Mark Wexler is a successful photojournalist who has also distinguished himself as a documentary filmmaker, but in many ways he has spent much of his life in the shadow of his more famous father, Haskell Wexler. One of Hollywood's greatest cinematographers, Haskell is also known as a director (he made the acclaimed feature Medium Cool as well as a handful of documentaries) and as a tireless political activist. But while Haskell is widely respected as a major talent, he's also known for being


Documentary, Television, Special Interest

Oct 18, 2005

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October 5, 2005:
Summer Tomatometer Wrap-up #3: The Best of the Limited Releases
In the hot summer months, everyone's looking for a way to cool down. This summer, movie audiences...


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All Critics (71) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (56) | Rotten (8) | DVD (4)

It works as a portrait of a father-son relationship that's awkward, volatile, uneven and always painfully real.

March 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
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What we really get from son Mark's unusual take is a sterling movie about fathers (especially famous fathers) and offspring.

November 22, 2005 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
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[A] tremendously moving documentary.

October 13, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
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A real gem of a film.

August 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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A vivid picture of a relationship that, like most, isn't quite picture-perfect.

July 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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A lively, often hilarious yet profoundly moving experience.

June 21, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tell Them Who You Are radiates dignity, the unusual warmth given off by the frustration of trying to know someone.

June 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

It's a remarkable documentary, thoroughly enjoyable and one of the most powerful films I've seen in quite some time.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

In the end this is a great movie about a filmmaker. It's also a great movie about fathers and sons.

July 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

A desperately sad look at two men whose determination to rebel against their heritage and succeed in their artform has rendered them unable to communicate. Compelling stuff, though.

June 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

With dad calling junior's filmmaking skills into question at every turn, this is a fascinating blend of fact and friction.

May 30, 2006 Full Review Source:

a rare film of startling sincerity

October 19, 2005 Full Review Source:

A unique and luminous achievement.

October 13, 2005 Full Review Source: MTV

Equal parts fan mail and home video from Hell, Tell Them Who You Are is a fascinating piece of father-son psychotherapy la Hollywood.

October 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

The subject is a fascinating one, and the film is worth watching just to see how impressive Wexler's career has been.

September 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

More than a Hollywood profile, it becomes a filmmaker's effort to figure out how he relates, personally and professionally, to his famous father.

September 9, 2005
Salt Lake Tribune

An opportunity missed

August 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Unlike countless other bad-dad pictures, Tell Them moves gradually and elegantly toward a reconciliation that isn't too maudlin or forced.

August 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Anyone who has been either a parent or a child will understand the push-me- pull-you, love-and-hate dynamic the film captures, and the attempt at reconciliation that it represents.

August 4, 2005
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

What emerges is not so much a career biography of the talented DP for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Coming Home and a number of John Sayles films.

August 4, 2005
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Not just a behind-the-scenes history chapter but an insightful father-son comedy-drama.

July 22, 2005 Full Review Source:

The film is an odd hybrid, sort of a family therapy session meshed with a Turner Classic Movies tribute doc, but the combination works in entertaining and poignant ways.

July 21, 2005 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Audience Reviews for Tell Them Who You Are

For the record, I believe that family members should never be involved in recording the life stories of loved ones due to the combination of distance and past closeness which can lead to a skewed perspective and usually involves at least one person with an axe to grind or deep-seated issues. Case in point with the latter is the documentary "Tell Them Who You Are" wherein Mark Wexler attempts to document the career of his father, Haskell, the famed cinematographer. That's the case until Haskell hijacks the proceedings to make it more about him as a person, leaving whatever footage in which would normally be cut and vice versa, as Mark forgets that the first rule of the documentarian is to stay behind the camera as much as humanly possible. Admittedly, there is some great stuff here about "Medium Cool," with a neat anecdote about "Coming Home." And some of Haskell's lesser known movies like "Latino" and "Introduction to the Enemy" definitely sound intriguing.

But getting back to those issues, the documentary seeks to portray Haskell as irascible and whose left wing politics which did not stop him from working with Elia Kazan stopped him from accomplishing much more in a career full of accomplishments.(At the age of 87, apparently he is still working.) Personally, any discussion of paternal issues by the participants only serve to make me feel well-adjusted which is quite the accomplishment. Look, I am not saying we should venerate all artists or gloss over their shortcomings. It's just that I don't care.
February 22, 2013
Walter M.

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