slider top

Far From the Tree: A Triumphant Study of Identity, Difference, Love, and Family

by Michael Kasdan

Photo: Participant Media

Photo: Participant Media

If you are not familiar with the work of Dr. Andrew Solomon, his new documentary film, Far From the Tree (a film by Rachel Dretzin, based on Dr. Solomon’s book of the same title), provides a poignant window into his life and mind, as well as to some of the most beautiful families you will ever encounter.

As filmmaker Rachel Dretzin said: “He showed the beauty and the purpose of caring deeply for someone who isn’t easy to care for. It’s an experience that reveals your own compassion to you, revealing things you might not know about yourself.”

Ms. Dretzin’s translation of Dr. Solomon’s book into film form is transcendent. It is — simply put — a beautiful and inspirational feat of storytelling out of the mouths of parents and children. While this is, on one level, a movie about disability and difference, it succeeds in being a more universally relatable film about family and an investigation into the very nature of family itself, in all of its diverse messy glory. “You love your kids. It’s not up to you. They just come along and change you.” This is not merely a film about disabled people; it is a film about the larger questions of how any of us arrive at a coherent identity.

. . . In many ways, Far From the Tree heralds the value of a more diverse planet. “I would like to think that the film actually conveys a message, not only of tolerance, but of admiration for people who are different,” says Solomon. “It’s about resilience, of course, but it’s most profoundly about the larger social question of having a society that in its totality embraces a variety of human experiences.”

The film is a must watch for humans of all shapes, sizes, and types.

(To read the complete review, please visit The Good Men Project.)