I don’t get teary eyed at a film easily. No, I’m not trying to be some macho tough guy, it’s just how it is with me. But, on the recommendation of some critics and the desire to expand my cinema horizons, I checked out a documentary last year that I will never, ever forget:
Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father
Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne did something special with this film. It tells the heart wrenching story of Kurt’s friend Andrew Bagby and how he was brutally murdered, while serving as a remembrance to show the son he never met. But this isn’t just a monument to Andrew’s life. What happens is even worse than just murder. The woman who was suspected for Andrew’s death, psychotic/jealous ex-lover Shirley Turner, was able to live free and held a press conference stating she was pregnant with Andrew’s son. Having their only grandchild in the custody of a suspected monster, Andrew’s parents David and Kathleen had no choice but to cultivate a relationship with Shirley just to be able to see young Zachary. What Kurt uncovers with his film is such a gut wrenchingly powerful testimony about a short, undeserved end to a shining life. Not only that, it uncovers the flaws in a system that lets these hate filled creatures walk freely amongst the earth, just hoping people like Shirley don’t let their instability get the best of them again. And that’s just Act 1. Act 2 spirals into such awe-inspiring insanity, you can’t help but feel enraged and heartbroken at the same time. Dear Zachary honestly choked me up at parts, not an easy feat for a film to accomplish. This is powerful stuff and I do recommend viewing this piece if you get a chance (it’s even available on Watch Instantly), but obviously don’t expect a light watch.
What about you. What film plucks those heartstrings the most?