By Ty Burr
Brisk and deeply engrossing, Rachel Dretzin’s documentary Far From the Tree could serve as either an introduction to or a boiled-down version of Andrew Solomon’s 2012 best-selling book of the same title, about parents living with, adjusting to, and loving profoundly “different” children. The book is nearly 1,000 pages and covers over 300 families; the film is just over an hour and a half and deals with five.
Yet the movie offers rewards of its own, in that Dretzin and Solomon — who acts as the documentary’s host and whose personal journey is woven throughout — force us to rethink what we define as “normal” by showing the shimmering humanity (to use a phrase from the book) with which challenged people and the people who love them live fulfilled and happy lives. At its most radical and empathetic, “Far From the Tree” urges us to start thinking of disability in terms of identity, not as a locus of struggle but a place of being.
(To read the full review, please visit The Boston Globe.)