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Dear Zachary2008

A Letter to a Son About His Father

  • 4.3
On November 5, 2001, Dr. Andrew Bagby was murdered in a parking lot in western Pennsylvania; the prime suspect, his ex-girlfriend Dr. Shirley Turner, promptly fled the United States for St. John's, Canada, where she announced that she was pregnant with Andrew's child. She named the little boy Zachary. Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne, Andrew's oldest friend, began making a film for little Zachary as a way for him to get to know the father he'd never meet. But when Shirley Turner was released on bail in Canada and was given custody of Zachary while awaiting extradition to the U.S., the film's focus shifted to Zachary's grandparents, David & Kathleen Bagby, and their desperate efforts to win custody of the boy from the woman they knew had murdered their son. What happened next, no one ever could have foreseen.

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5 members like this review

This excruciatingly powerful documentary is a true testament to both the depths of evil to which individual humans can descend but also the heights that true love and a community of love and support can bring to any situation, no matter how painful. The unique relationship of the film's director to the subject and the personal love and commitment evidenced in the documentary is one of the most heartfelt achievements in cinematic documentary history. A tremendous film!

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (6)

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top reviewer

This excruciatingly powerful documentary is a true testament to both the depths of evil to which individual humans can descend but also the heights that true love and a community of love and support can bring to any situation, no matter how painful. The unique relationship of the film's director to the subject and the personal love and commitment evidenced in the documentary is one of the most heartfelt achievements in cinematic documentary history. A tremendous film!

5 members like this review
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top reviewer

A very well done documentary. A great tribute to a friend, and amazingly gripping story. One of the best on Fandor.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

Viewing this documentary is definitely better if you don't know beforehand the whole story that this doc unfurls. However, even if you know this story already, then this doc is still definitely worth viewing anyway, because of the mind blowing and heart wrenching way that the filmmaker tells the story.

Much of the mental and emotional effect that this doc has is due to the fact that much of it is filmed in "real time". That is, the story that is related here was filmed mainly WHILE it was happening, and not in retrospect, as do most docs. So, through most of the film, the narrator / filmmaker himself is ignorant about events that will transpire later in the film.

If you don't just LOVE this film, whether you're a doc addict like me or not, then you must have computer chips where your brain and heart should be.

I can't think of another film, doc or theatrical, that had as much of an effect on me personally as did this film. You are really missing out on a rare opportunity if you miss this film.

20 Stars!!! 20 Stars!!! 20 Stars!!!

1 member likes this review

Does have some bright editing and an interesting story. The emotion grinding music is not only unnecessary, it's poor and adds to the generalized treacle of the film. If the director had tried to distance himself from the subject matter it would have been a more successful film, and the viewers would have had a more complete record of the events depicted.

Tragic. If you don't like crying, don't watch this.

at least good interviews, as well as great hotel service