Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father Reviews

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½ January 18, 2017
Dear Zachary is the rare true-crime documentary that doesn't sensationalize its shocking story, instead delivering a respectful and genuine film made by a dear old friend of Andrew Bagby.
January 17, 2017
When are we going to start putting criminals in prison? And by criminals, I mean corrupt government officials who get promotions and raises instead of being prosecuted.
December 4, 2016
Outstanding documentary. Only the good die young...
October 16, 2016
Probably one of the most angering films every made, a friend of Dr. Andrew Bagby decides to film what he was like with his friends and family, so that they have a video collection to share with his yet unborn son. The twist, Andrew Bagby was killed by the child's mother, and later gets custody of the child due to the fractured Canadian legal system. Outrage, sadness, change, and tragedy all occur in this brutal and poignant film. Its not an easy film to watch but its very important.
September 30, 2016
If you haven't seen it yet, go watch it. Quit reading about it.
½ June 16, 2016
Heartbreaking, harrowing, and deeply saddening, this documentary paints a portrait of loss, and just how much the loss of that one person can impact everyone around them.
May 11, 2016
Alexis Newberry
May 4, 2016

"Dear Zachary"
My overall impression of this film is that it's a great film. It kept your eyes on the screen it kept you into the movie, there was never a dull moment. The film contained so much detail suspense. I loved that the movie was something that actually happened, all of the characters were actually apart of Andrew's life the mom and dad were really is. It wasn't like a movie that had characters playing their parts it was actual pieces.
The plot of the film was based all around a woman named Shirley Turner and Andrew. Andrew was a man who everyone loved and got along with so well. He was married to a woman, but they got a divorced and Andrew started to date Shirley. Shirley was 40 at the time and Andrew was only 28 which is why everyone questioned their relationship. Andrew lived in Ohio and Shirley lived in Canada. When they broke up Andrew sent her on a plane 13 hours long back to Canada and the next day she was at his doorstep asking for them to talk. Andrew didn't think any harm could have been done and when they went to a park Shirley shot him and killed him. Kurt which is the maker of the film went around interviewing everyone who had known Andrew because they found out Shirley was 4 months pregnant and he wanted to make the film for his son. Shirley keeps getting put into jail, but they release her every time and Andrews parents are so loving they would drive Andrews son (Zachary) to the jail so she could see him. The unexplainable happens at the end of the movie that you can not even place into words.
The people Kurt interviewed were great candidates for the movie. They all personally knew him, so whatever the information was that they knew about Andrew they told Kurt. He interviewed people from cousins all over the world, roommates from college, family friends, colleagues, and just about anyone you can think of. Everyone he interviewed basically covered the sentimental portion of the movie, they gave all of the detail, and all of the action. Some of the information Kurt wasn't even aware of and Andrew and Kurt were friends for over 20 years.
Kurt used one oblivious film technique which was repetition. When something serious was going on he added sound effects that added to the feeling. He definitely made you feel sad like the parents and family members were. When something such as blood was involved he would add a tint of red. It gives you this overwhelming feeling that suspense that made you feel so upset.
The film did a great job at addressing the overall aspect of the story. It made me feel like I knew the story personally. I understood the story and it all made sense. It connected to the real story greatly because it was the real story. It wasn't fake actors it was the real people who were actually in their lives. Kurt did such a good job at this film entirely hands down I think everything was spot on.
The ending to the movie was definitely such an unexpected ending. You can never guess what is going to happen. Everyone that watched the movie as well was very into it. It honestly kept your attention it kept you interested in it. There was never a dull moment in the movie that you thought this is so boring. I would say to go see this movie, it is a good watch.
½ May 6, 2016
If you do not cry while watching this movie you are not a human being.
½ May 5, 2016
Movie Analysis: Dear Zachary
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son about His Father, released in 2008, is a dramatic and depressing story in which a man named Kurt documents his friend, Andrew's, life after being murdered by Shirley, Andrew's girlfriend. Throughout the documentary the story will just keep tucking on your heart.
The documentary is about Andrew Bagby's life, so that his son Zachery can get to know him. After hearing about his friend's death, he starts to make this documentary by going to meet and interview everyone who knows Andrew. Shirley Tuner, the person who killed Andrew, ended up fleeing to Canada with is soon to be born child. Though for Andrew's parents, Kate and David Bagby, to make sure Shirley wouldn't be allowed to keep the baby, and to gain custody of the child, they would need to spend time with her. The only thing that was slightly annoying was that the narrator, Kurt, talked too fast and he made the plot film jump around, making the story a bit harder to follow in the beginning.
The cinematography in the film was amazing. I believe it worked incredibly well because it wasn't trying to seem professionally made. It seems even better because it was made by a single person Kurt. With the nice blend of medium shots and close up basically all the interviews and b-roll fit the depressing and intense theme. Also, the music, and sound effects, that was played help set the scene and influenced the viewer's emotion without being too much. Along with that, the film's only with cinematography is that it reused lines from the interviews.
The documentary covered Andrews life, his murder, and the court case has accurate he could without interviewing Shirley, because she wouldn't let him. Without giving to much away he covers Andrew's parents struggle trying to getting custody of Zachery. The documentary brings you to the events the parents had to do to see the baby and the phone call with Shirley.
Overall this is one of the best documentaries that I have ever seen. By the end of it you will feel like you know Andrew and Zachery quite well and experience what, sadly, does happen when somebody meets a person like Shirley. This is a must see film that will make Andrew Bagby and Zachery Tuner remembered forever.
May 5, 2016
I believe that this documentary Dear Zachary was very good it was a very different style then normal documentary. I felt it was very smooth flowing and it really hit hard. The director of this film was Kurt Kuenne and every moment it felt like he put his whole life into this movie. He must of spent so much time in making this and it felt like every person cared a ton about the man who got murdered, Andrew Bagby. This was not like your normal documentary either, this doc was shot on three or four cameras and it was shot by one man. Kurt who shot the whole thing had one goal tell a story of what happened to Andrew his parents and his kid, and he did it extremely well.
The plot of the film started when this guy Andrew started dating this random girl that seemed off. He dated her for a while and he relied that she was crazy and when he tried to break up with him, she went insane and murdered Andrew with five gunshots to his body. After this she fled to Canada where she was allowed to walk free because the judge thought she was not a threat. Andrews's parents came up and she told everyone she was pregnant. The baby was then born and the parents of Andrew had to split custody with the woman the murdered there son. Throughout the whole movie you get interviews from friends and family of Andrew. You get to see all the ways that Andrew was a good guy and you can see how his parents where good to. After his parents get split-custody something happens.
The interviews in this movie were very good and added a ton to the movie. The one scene he puts like 30 interviews right in a row and it impacted the viewer a lot and pushed his point very well. Overall it seemed like all these people knew Andrew a lot and it seemed like they really cared and were all impacted from his death. The hardest interview to watch was of his parents, you could feel the pain in their voices and it felt like you were in the room any time that the parents were speaking. These interviews were very good and added a lot to the movie.
This film was shot on three to four cameras with one guy shooting them. The camera quality wasn't the best but it didn't take away from the film at all, it actually added to the film because in made it feel all real like you were there with them when everything was going on. The editing style was pretty good to it seemed like it was always moving and it was not slow at all. Some may say that the editing was amateur but it felt life these theme of editing fit and that's how I would've done it. Now the cinematography of the movie wasn't the best every single interview was the same type of shot but it didn't really take away from the film. The last was the techniques were good is the effects that he used on all the pictures he had of the events and what all happened it looked very professional and well put together.
I believe that this movie told the story perfect and I don't think you could have made it any different. The man who made this film had a vison and you can feel like he put every little drop of everything that he knew and with all the interviews he got the stuff that he didn't know and this added a new level to the film that you would not have had if you didn't have these interviews. The ending was pretty good too, he completely changes the point of the story and adds so much to the film and because of this film Canada changed its laws and this movie helped by telling the whole story.
If I were you I would definitely watch this film it made me feel like I was there with the family and anytime anything bad happened, I felt there pain and the despair that they were all going through. Also the ending is something that you would need to see and it will change you a little from watching this film. This story is so good that at some points the things that happen feel fake and feel like they could never happen. There were so many plot twists and story changes throughout. There is no way that you should not watch this excellent film.
½ May 5, 2016
The film Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father was a very successful documentary style film about how a Zachary's father named Andrew was murdered and the story that unfold after the horrific event. The film was created and directed by Kurt Kuenne, an amateur filmmaker. The film had no actors, but it did have many interviews of people who knew Andrew in any kind of way. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who is a fan a murder mystery films, as there is much police work toward the end of the film.

The film starts with the murder of Andrew, a doctor. It was his old girlfriend who killed him, who was also pregnant with Andrew's son. She fled to Canada where the Canadian government decided that she was not in a physiological state to be free and care for the baby, as she killed the only one who she hated, Andrew. Much of the movie is about the choice that the Canadian government made. The film spends much time following the director, Kuenne, traveling around the world interviewing all who knew Andrew about his life. There are many scenes of the film that show stock footage about Andrew's childhood.

In the film, there are many interviews of people about their own experiences regarding the murder of Andrew. The film plays a big focus on Andrew's parents, who live in Canada near Zachary, who is just a baby, so they could visit him. There are times where the interviews get very emotional as people are sharing their memories of Andrew. Kuenne is also the narrator in the film, and his great enthusiasm keeps the whole film very exciting. He talks fast and quickly makes his point come across.

The film was a very intense documentary about a murder, with a very powerful message at the end that lead to a change in the Canadian legal system. The film had many fast cuts that flashed from many interviews. There were many scenes in the documentary where the audio from all the interviews was bleeding together to show the importance and the intensity. In the few events where Kuenne was not able to find video of people who played a big role in the murder, so instead he animated pictures of these people in order to show creativity and entertain us. The style of the film was fun and interesting to watch, as it was also one of my favorite aspects of the film.

The story told in the documentary was outstanding. The first goal of the film was to tell Zachary, Andrews's son, about his father. In the film, Kuenne is talking to Zachary, as if it was a conversation. He interviews nearly anyone who would have known Andrew giving the story as much detail as it could possibly of had. Some of the most intense parts of the story where even shown in a cinematic way. This kept the viewers' attention. Overall, the viewer felt like they were living in the story, which was exactly what Kuenne was trying to do.

I would most definitely recommend this film, as the style is just so unique. I feel that this film also show that you do not need to have a big budget to make such a good film. The film was shot by just one man with only a big enough of a budget to travel. He was shooting with cheaper cameras, and had very little lighting tools, but his outstanding editing and his style made this film very memorable, it is by far the best documentary that I have ever seen.
May 5, 2016
1. My overall impression of the documentary Dear Zachery filmed by Kurt Kuenne is mind blowing. The documentary itself is very real and hard to watch if you have a good heart. My impression is difficult to comprehend because of the power of the story that moved my emotions to a whole other level. This doc is truly something that I have never watched before and have never felt so strongly towards. Andrews's story brought me into a whole other world of the reality of the real world and the people in it.
2. The title of the film Dear Zachery, released in 2008 means all what it says. This film is about a heartwarming physician who is brutally murdered by his psychotic girlfriend Shirley. Shirley Turner ends up being pregnant and delivers a child that looks insanely like his dead father. The parents of Andrew are outraged and fight to gain custody of the child, but after a twisted court case the judge decides to release the girlfriend from jail time and she bails. Who will get dear Zachery?
3. The interviews were memorable, short and informational. The only thing I didn't necessary like was the way the director mixed all the interviews together and you could hear different people's voices together in some parts of the documentary. What I did like in the interviews was how people who were interviewed did not shy away from their strong emotions and let it be known during the interviews. The interviews were very important throughout the doc. Also the interviews let you see someone else tell the same story but in a different light. Without them the documentary would just be a bunch of pictures.

4. The film techniques used in the documentary flowed with the plot well. The way the director Kurt Kuenne used quick shots and out of control camera angles flowed well with the plot of the documentary. I enjoyed the director's use of recordings throughout the documentary as well as his use of many old footage from family or friends that he put into the doc. The music only made the documentary seem that much more real. For example, sometimes you would hear the thumping of a heart in the documentary that made it feel like your own heart was beating in anticipation or worriedness that you felt for Andrew, Zachery or the parents. I liked the way the director intertwined the multiple interviews cross cut together to emphasize the story.

5. The story itself is told to a T. It's hard to screw up a true story, but a story like this can be told in multiple ways. Kurt Kuenne did a fantastic job and really lured me into diving head first in this heartbreakingly true story. I loved how Kurt wanted to dedicate this film to Andrew that touched my heart. Zachery and Andrew's story will never be forgotten.
6. This film/documentary not only touched my heart, but my soul. This documentary made me realize that the world isn't a fairytale. The world is real and the people in it are real too. If you just watch this documentary than you would see that stealing away a single life can affect not only you but everyone around you too. This documentary is what the real world is like and it tears you apart.
½ May 5, 2016
Dear Zachary: A letter to a son about his father
This documentary in my opinion/view is very good and that the director did a great job of telling the story and how he/they feel. I think that the director did a great job on interviewing all of Andrews's friends and family. The pictures and short clips that the director put in this documentary we really gut-wrenching and warm hearted all at the same time.
To summarize this documentary, it starts off showing Andrews friends and family. The beginning shows Andrew growing up and his life as a kid to an adult. The next part shows his girlfriend and his story about how he died and why he died. Next interviewees talk about how Andrew touched them in life and tell what a great guy he was and how much he had to offer. Then it shows and talks about how he died and tells all the awful things that the government would not act upon.
The techniques that the film maker used were fast moving, quick cuts, aggressive editing, over lapping talking, and recaps of scenes. I really liked how this film maker made the documentary look but at the same time I thought that sometimes it was too fast moving and could of made the cuts slower so that the audience could understand easier what's going on.
I think that this director really told the story of what happened very well and made it as if you were living through it with them. The director would use Andrews's childhood pictures to really describe who he was. The director did a very nice job of interviewing friends and family and made it as if you too were Andrews's friend.
I think that this documentary was fantastic and you should really consider watching it. This documentary really escalated quickly and had a jaw dropping ending. All the interviewees did an amazing job of telling exactly what happened and really made you feel like you too were apart of all of it.
May 5, 2016
SPOILER ALERT: you have been warned.
My overall impression of Dear Zachary was highly negative due to its content and intensity, but I suppose Kurt Kuenne did a good job with it.
It follows the story of two parents chasing the murderer of their son, his 20-years-older cougar girlfriend. The two parties then have a long custody battle over their grandson and her son. It is to him that the movie is addressed. Toward the end, it starts to look hopeful that they will get the child, but then the evil mother kills herself and him. The grandparents then become activists against crappy laws.
Kuenne definitely interviewed the right people, mainly all the people he possibly could have. The interviewees gave good, thorough answers, which told an effective story.
Kuenne used the technique of quick cuts to convey intensity, as well as occasionally multiple people talking at once. This was effective in intensifying key parts of the film. He also used the technique of quick talking over cuts of text on paper. He frequently had a montage of all the interviewees answering the same question, which is helpful. Much of the movie was photos and footage compiled to tell the story effectively, even when they were from a different context.
The story was conveyed effectively. While I would have preferred it more toned-down, I suppose the intensity was necessary for what Kuenne wanted to convey. It did a good job of leading us through the events as if we were there.
The ending sucks. I hate this type of thing, and would never watch this movie. The problem for me is that it is all true. But if it is your thing, I'm sure you will love it. It was well done.
½ May 5, 2016
Dear Zachary: A letter to a son about his father was really good documentary. I was completely absorbed into the documentary the length of the movie. The movie interviews all the friends and family of Andrew, who the documentary is about, and they all were all passionate about what they were talking about. Kurt, the director of the documentary, was able to fully capture the experience as if you were living through it with him.
The documentary follows the family of friends of a man named Andrew who was killed by his psychotic ex-girlfriend. During the Documentary you truly find out how genuine and kind Andrew is and how he has impacted so many people around him. The story continues when you find out Andrews parents ended up having to face the killer of their son every day. The parents of Andrew, Kate and David, were forced to face more tragedies as the murderer of their son manipulated them.
The interviews were good. There was a huge amount of interviews and they were all brief yet had enough of a message. The interviews were slightly unorganized because it would cut so many times it was hard to tell what some people were talking about.
The film was fast paced and your eyes were always busy on the screen. There was always people talking and there was always new information. It gave the effect that you were doing the investigation yourself by showing clips of the official documentary and court cases. The film had old clips of Andrew to newer images. There wasn't much music in the documentary but I think that made the movie more fit to the mood. Music makes movies more comfortable or easier to watch but Kurt wanted this film to make you sad and uncomfortable. The lack of music made the film way more serious, plus the story was so good you weren't even paying attention to the background noise. Some of the photo slides to remember Andrew did have really sad music behind them and this made you feel for Andrew, almost like you knew him personally.
The story was told very well, in complete order of how events occurred with dates to help you keep up. There were visuals for every story so you could see what had happened. Kurt had made this documentary and it was very powerful. It was able to cover every single topic and you completed sided with Andrews parents after watching. It inspired you to want to make a change to the Canadian Government and I don't even live in Canada.
Overall, if you're looking for a serious, "edge of your seat" documentary I recommend this one. It has a unique filming style and the editing is exciting.
April 22, 2016
1. Get tissues. 2. stop everything you are doing, don't read anything about it, and watch this heart-wrenching documentary. Please, please, please. It is devastatingly sad and will rock you to your core.
April 11, 2016
It's difficult to find words to convey how much I was moved by this film. As a parent, as a grandparent, I can barely comprehend what Andrew Bagby's parents endured. Kurt Kuenne did a masterful job at pulling viewers into his friend's life, making us wish that we, too, had known Andrew Bagby, and hoping that if we ever had to suffer the way Andrew's parents did, we would be able to fight for justice as they did.
½ April 2, 2016
Absolutely heartbreaking. fuck this movie.
March 30, 2016
You will cry a lot- I don't care who you are, you will cry and you will be sad forever and ever after seeing this.

You might think I'm exaggerating (and I wish I was) but, no, unfortunately this film will leave you as but a shell of your former self. Nonetheless, the story told here and the impact that it has is something that can have a profound impact on you- again, as long as you accept that you will cry a lot. Seriously.

This is a brutal film- far more so than any slasher film or anything like that. This is all real and there's no emotion spared- anger, hatred, spite, everything is there. To see these human beings open their hearts in such an honest way is a powerful experience and it's really the silver-lining to this horribly sad tale.

It's hard to recommend this just because of how upsetting it is but I'm going to anyway- Dear Zachary is one of the most powerful and visceral films that I've ever seen. For better or for worse, if you watch this- you will never forget it.
March 23, 2016
One of the hardest documentaries to sit through, and also one of the saddest, Dear Zachary is not only a documentary about a dead buddy, it's also a documentary about a dead buddy's baby, who's in the hands of something far worse.
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