Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Must Read after My Death

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Skeletons in the Closet Documentary Deconstructs Dysfunctional Marriage

Forget Revolutionary Road, if you want to see a period piece about a Connecticut couple in crisis, check out this skeletons-in-the-closet documentary deconstructing the dysfunctional marriage of Allis and Charlie. The movie was made by Morgan Dews who decided to document his late grandparents’ miserable home life which was marked by spousal and child abuse, alcoholism, infidelity, insanity and tragedy.
Allis and Charlie’s neighbors in their upscale, suburban Hartford community probably had no idea what was going on behind their closed doors. And the only reason it’s coming to light now is that, after they both died, grandson Morgan discovered a suitcase up in the attic containing family photographs, 8mm home movies, candid audiotapes from sessions with shrinks and intimate audio journals entries from over the years.
Appreciating the potential entertainment value of graphic material like his grandmother’s ranting about being a housewife stuck at home with four kids while her husband practically flaunts his mistresses in her face, Morgan set about weaving the most salacious moments he could find into a riveting, warts-and-all bio-pic you can’t take your eyes off of. For, because you hear the preserved voices of each of the actual participants, their emotions, whether pain, anger, fear or despair, still feel as raw and as real as when they were uttered thirty or forty years ago.
Unfortunately, Allis and Charlie’s marital discontent took a terrible toll on their children, too. Because of all the fighting, Morgan’s mother, Annie, ran away from home at an early age with a boy from across the tracks. One brother, Bruce, was committed to a mental institution at 14, when tranquilizers didn’t stop his temper tantrums. Another brother, Chuck, whose dyslexia went untreated, was instead sent to a school for the retarded until the day he was hit and killed by a car.
A ghoulish, generation-skipping reminder that life in suburbia in the Sixties wasn’t necessarily the idyllic utopia presented on TV shows like Leave It to Beaver.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 75 minutes
Studio: Gigantic Releasing

FYI: The public will be able to access the film for digital viewing at beginning Friday morning, February 20th at 10am Eastern. (This is the same day that it opens theatrically in New York.) The ticket price will be $2.99 for a 3-day, unlimited viewing ticket. The film will be streaming in up to HD quality (depending on the viewer's available bandwidth and hardware setup) and commercial-free.
To see a trailer for Must Read after My Death, visit:

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