"Dad's in heaven with President Nixon - dad hated his guts, but in heaven they're friends". Walking on the very beach where his father walked into the waves and drowned, Chris introduces us to the man at the centre of the Murray family. When Chris began to exhibit autistic tendencies as a toddler his bipolar father, as for so many coping with an autistic child struggled to cope.
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In my own family, I have been affected by intergenerational mental illness and alcoholism. I was riveted by the old family movies (that go back to the 1920s!) of the grandfather, who to me, with my experience, was obviously manic. He self-medicated with alcohol, and for whatever reason, treated his youngest son (the father of director Tom Murray) with inexplicable cruelty. The family's privileged life unraveled in epic fashion, as the father reached middle age--a time when coping mechanisms that have worked for a lifetime seem to break down. I think the heroes of this story are Tom, who was able to connect with his rageful (and possibly bipolar) father and probably help him in some way, and the mother, who treated Christopher's autism (undiagnosed at the time) with love and devotion and understanding, rather than institutionalizing him as was the practice at the time. Amazing story, and Christopher's artwork is astonishing. Thank you for telling your story so beautifully.
Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2020
I am filled with so many emotions after seeing this film! Bravo to Tom and Chris and their mother! I am so moved by their love for each other! I love the brothers so much! What a beautiful soul Chris is......all due to the love of his mother and brother and other siblings, too, I'm sure. I would just encourage everyone to see this film. One of the best I've ever seen! Love this family!!!!!!!!
My biggest take away from watching this film is the story of a mother's deep love and devotion. I was amazed at her depth of understanding her special needs child ~ in a time long before there was all the information that's available today. There's a painful yet loving look into the relationships of fathers and sons. I am also so touched by Chris' deep love for his family, and his outlook on life. The film is beautifully made. It's presented from the aspects of the hearts of the people who have lived it. I'm so glad to have seen it.
I absolutely LOVE this doc. It presents a family story that is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Seeing how differently mental disabilities affect three generations of the family is unbelievable. Chris Murray is an amazing and talented individual who has a better handle on and understanding of life than most people I have known.
Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2020
There are no limits to what a human can accomplish through the support and love of those near him. This story is truly a testament to the resiliency we all have inside of us, despite the pain and anguish life throws at us, there is always blue skies and white filled fluffy clouds to look forward to. Wonderful doc.
My sister and my oldest daughter are bi-polar. My husband and I have cared for adults with disabilities 32 years, teaching them Independent Living Skills. We also adopted and fostered children with disabilities. We think of our lives as very "normal". This family is amazing- with so much to teach others. This movie touched me in so many ways. What a beautiful loving family.
I'm so impressed with this family story, but especially by Christopher Murray himself. During childbirth he was apparently deprived of oxygen and, as a result, has special needs. But what he actually has is a lack of constraints -- so what comes from him is from a pure and simple place. I think he seems better able to love, enjoy a simple life and to create art because of this lack of constraints. It's a lovely film, made possible because the family had so many home movies. The film tells the family story with refreshing candor -- blemishes and all, but with love. I almost thought the film became a little slow in the middle, but it all fit together in the end.