Must Read After My Death

Critics Consensus

Impressively constructed from home movie clips and audio recordings, Must Read After My Death is both searing and intimate.



Total Count: 49


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,484
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Movie Info

Assembled from 300 pages of official transcripts, 50 hours of audio diaries and Dictaphone records, and 201 home movies left behind by the free-thinking mother who railed against convention, director Morgan Dews' intimate documentary follows the journey of an unconventional 1960s-era Connecticut couple who turned to psychiatry in order to save their failing marriage, inadvertently tearing their family apart in the process. Allis and Charlie were attempting to find out why their marriage was crumbling when they decided to submit their family to group and individual therapies. Later, as the family began recording their conversation and conflicts as instructed by doctors, pills were prescribed and family members were sent away for evaluation. At this point, Allis began to question the effectiveness of the treatment. After Allis' death, her children discovered that their mother had hidden away virtually all of the films, audiotapes, and medical records from this turbulent period of their family history. In this film, director Dews draws on those materials to assemble a curious exploration of his family's struggle. The result is a film that is deeply personal as it explores the downfall of a typical American family, and highly informative as it explores the mores of a pivotal point in 20th century history. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Must Read After My Death

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (17)

  • An unsettling portrait of a broken family.

    Mar 2, 2009 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • A searing and intimate account of an unconventional woman struggling not to lose her identity or her sanity in the rigid 1950s suburban world of stay-at-home moms, well-behaved children and sparkling-clean houses.

    Feb 27, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Like other family doc gothics, the heart of the suburbs is-gasp!-black as bile; unlike them, however, this has a strong female voice that gives us chills from beyond the grave

    Feb 26, 2009 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • A bloodcurdling 75-minute diary assembled from an astonishing stash of audiotapes and Dictaphone recordings, cries and whispers out of one documentary filmmaker's family history.

    Feb 26, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Dews helps Allis hold out a gendered posthumous snapshot of an era whose smug surface, barely masking oceans of suffering, makes Revolutionary Road look like a tea party.

    Feb 26, 2009 | Full Review…
  • File this 'therapeutic' movie, well made and creepy, on the dysfunction-as-art shelf 
next to Capturing the Friedmans.

    Feb 25, 2009 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Must Read After My Death

  • Apr 16, 2009
    I was expecting so much more. It's basically dirty laundry from a 60's family.
    Wu C Super Reviewer

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