slider top

Far From the Tree Is a Marvelous, Empathetic Doc About Kids Not Like Their Parents

Sundance Selects and Participant Media present Far from the Tree: A Film by Rachel Dretzin. Opening in theaters and VOD July 20, 2018.

By David Edelstein

It takes a beat or so to register the audacity of the title Far From the Tree, a phrase that’s normally presented in a negative context, as in “One look at Eric and Don Jr. and you know the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” (Nor do the worms, apparently.) Andrew Solomon’s stupendous 2012 tome and Rachel Dretzin’s boundlessly empathetic documentary (co-produced by Solomon) home in on the exceptions: children whose very existence leaves their parents wondering what happened between conception and birth. … The outline of the book is loose, but section-by-section Solomon immerses himself so deeply in each of his subjects’ histories that he seems to be living through their pasts alongside them. … This is not, in the end, his story but a tapestry with disparate threads — some complementary, some very much not. It’s a film about Jason Kingsley (who has Down syndrome); Jack Allnut (autism); the “little people” Loini Vivao and married couple Leah Smith and Joseph Stramando; and the family of Trevor Reese, who at age 16 inexplicably murdered an 8-year-old boy. … It’s quite a mix: Far From the Tree throws so much at you that you’ll want to pick up the book and read (or reread) it.

(To read the full review, please visit Vulture.)