Prodigal Sons (2010)



Critic Consensus: Fascinating and heartbreakingly honest, Kimberly Reed's family documentary uses its stranger-than-fiction story to speak near-universal truths about family bonds and human identity.

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In this impressive personal documentary, filmmaker Kimberly Reed attempts to reconcile with her long-estranged brother Marc, with whom she's been a rival since childhood. Their paths diverged long ago: Marc was permanently debilitated in a car accident, while Kim left their small-town roots on a journey of self-discovery. Full of twists and turns involving Hollywood royalty and sexual and gender identities, high school reunions in Montana and family reunions in Croatia, Prodigal Sons sensitively examines family bonds and questions if we can ever truly reinvent ourselves.
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for Prodigal Sons

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (12)

A film that will fascinate inquisitive viewers on multiple levels.

Full Review… | September 16, 2013
Top Critic

At the heart of Prodigal Sons, a family drama in the form of a succinct, eloquent personal journal, is a sibling rivalry whose reverberations touch upon the very essence of human identity...

Full Review… | March 18, 2010
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

A consistently generous film.

Full Review… | March 12, 2010
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Kimberly Reed started out to make a movie about starting over, but then life got in the way. It didn't make her job harder. It made the movie better.

Full Review… | March 11, 2010
Washington Post
Top Critic

The problem with family-diary documentaries is that some families have too much drama for just one movie.

Full Review… | March 11, 2010
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Sometimes we forget that when documentary filmmakers begin a project, they don't always know what they'll be filming because, to state the obvious, real life doesn't work from a script.

Full Review… | March 4, 2010
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Prodigal Sons


"Prodigal Sons" is an emotional and personal documentary that despite its insight is actually a little hard to watch at times. In it, Kimberly Reed, a magazine editor living in New York City, is returning to Helena, Montana for her 20th high school reunion to see many of her old classmates for the first time since she transitioned from a man to a woman. For the most part, they are accepting, although there is a little confusion around the whole girlfriend thing. The same cannot be said for her adopted brother Marc who she has not talked to in about ten years. The origins of this can be traced back to when Kim(then called Paul) was the center of attention and starting quarterback of the high school football team. Through a strange twist of fate, Marc finally gets the limelight. Sadly, this does not help with the healing of this long simmering family conflict, which is exacerbated by brain injuries and the resultant trauma Marc suffered in a car accident. Like Kim says with sad irony, there is psychological phrase for who she is but none for Marc's condition.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

It's pretty much everything it purports to be - the transexual transition, the Orson Welles connection, the sibling rivalry - no more, no less.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

This documentary anticipated recording the reaction of Helena Montana to the return of the star high school quarterback - who is now a woman. Instead we have a very private glimpse into the relationship between that woman and her brain injured adopted brother. The brother discovers that he has very famous grandparents but that grand revelation cannot end his spiral downwards.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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