Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
Critic Consensus: Dear Zachary is a both a touching tribute to a fallen friend and a heart-wrenching account of justice gone astray, skillfully put to film with no emotion spared.
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Critic Reviews for Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Just take our advice and bring tissues. You're going to need them.
A slick account of ancient crevices in the human psyche rendered in cutting-edge cinematic style.
An undeniably shattering story, if forgivably shaky in its impassioned, therapeutic unfolding.
Dear Zachary earns its right to engage us on a primal level, but it comes on the heels of so many films that don't, movies that...prey on modern fears and inflate third-rate material to the plane of tragedy.
A four-handkerchief documentary if there ever was one.
Audience Reviews for Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
After watching this heart-wrenching documentary, I lost faith in the judicial system, child protective services, law enforcement and humanity in general. This documentary tears at you, and sends you down a dark and twisted rabbit hole. I felt saddened, angry, disgusted and just appalled at how the whole case turned out, and the extreme sadness that the actions of one person can do to a family. I hope that everyone can take something out of this movie.
One of the more poignant documentaries I for one have ever seen, Dear Zachary is a love letter, a sermon, and a condolence to all those that loved friend, Andrew Bagby. His friend, filmmaker Kurt Kuenne, looks at his friend's past through films, documents, testimonials from friends and family, and the lens of his camera. Andrew was murdered, in a horrific crime supposedly perpetrated by his then girlfriend, Dr. Shirley Turner. Kuenne follows the criminal proceedings of her trial while simultaneously exploring the life of a dear friend who seemed beloved by all that met and adored him. Kuenne seems to distance himself at times from the prospect of dredging up the details of the savage shooting of his friend, though he does let himself break down, just once, at the prospect of losing his last link to his past. Besides being interesting due to the premise of the film and the charisma of the focal point, Kuenne has an innovative voice and presence within the film as narrator, that truly ties it together. This could easily have been another special on TrueTV or an inane filler piece on the news, but Kuenne lends truth and clarity to the life of someone he grew up with, and watched die. He shows the anger, the hostility, and the utter madness of Shirley Turner, who evades capture in Canada and plays a cat and mouse game with Andrew's parents after revealing she is pregnant. The film becomes a letter to the child, who will never meet his father and is under the duress of his lunatic mother. Using taped phone conversations, found footage, and photographs to show the progression of Zachary's life and the unraveling of his mother under the pressures of her child, Kuenne documents love for someone who is still just a child. It is a heartbreaking and saddening film that makes you always tear up, even at the thought that such injustice can let stand. It's unlike many documentaries out there, and it brings to light the lack of regulation on extradition laws and psychological standards in Canada. Gripping throughout, this is one film that is a must see and possibly one of the best in its genre.
"My name is Kurt and I'm a filmmaker. Andrew appeared in every movie I made growing up. I decided to make a movie, to travel far and wide, to interview everyone who ever knew and loved Andrew." A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.
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