Review: Prodigal Sons DVD

STUDIO: First Run | DIRECTOR: Kimberly Reed
RELEASE DATE: 7/21/2010 | PRICE: DVD $24.95
BONUSES: documentary short, Q&A, “Words from the Family”
SPECS: NR | 86 min. | Documentary | widescreen | stereo

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

A popular film on the festival circuit and a frequent pick on 2008’s top 10 lists, the documentary Prodigal Sons looks at the McKerrows, who seem like a typical, everyday family, but they are actually somewhat unusual. For one, the popular, high school quarterback son Paul had a sex change operation and became Kimberly, who directed this movie. Meanwhile, the adopted son Marc suffered a terrible accident that caused brain damage. Ever since then, he has been severely medicated and has abrupt, out-of-control temper tantrums. Even more unexpected, when Marc searches for his biological mother, it also turns out that he is the grandson of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. What are the chances?!

The story of the McKerrow family is so atypical that you know this is real — no one could make this stuff up. Most of the film deals with Kimberly and Marc trying to rebuild their relationships and trying to better understand and accept themselves.

The film’s title, Prodigal Sons, is a reference to the Biblical parable of the Lost Son, and it makes sense here. Kimberly tries to escape from her past, while Marc is haunted by it and his feelings of being an outsider in his adopted family.

Despite being so close to the subject, director Reed is able to capture the family drama successfully, and she adeptly manages the unexpected twists and turns of the story. Although one might expect more on Kimberly’s sex change, the film mostly focuses on Marc and how the other family members react to him. Prodigal Sons shows that family relations are always difficult, though some are more difficult than others.

Supplements on the DVD include a Q&A with writer Rick Moody, author of The Ice Storm and one of the film’s more well-known fans.


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About Cheryl

Cheryl Cheng reviewed DVD and Blu-ray titles for Video Business magazine and has a special place in her heart for foreign and independent films.