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There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane

3.8 out of 5 stars 788 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This feature-length film reveals the complex case involving Diane Schuler. The woman who drove the wrong way on a State Parkway in NY.

When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Directors: Liz Garbus
  • Producers: Liz Garbus, Julie Gaither
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: HBO
  • DVD Release Date: January 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (788 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0062RY3Z8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,394 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John F. Jamele on December 21, 2011
Format: DVD
This documentary uses 911 calls, interviews with family members and police, and security camera footage to reconstruct the events leading up the tragic car accident which killed eight people in two cars including Diane, the driver.

As the story unfolds, we realize that this story is less about a mystery and more about the power of denial. Diane's husband and sister insist that while she drank "sometimes," she "would never do that when she had to drive." We learn that yes, she smoked pot from time to time, "when the laundry was folded and put away and the kids were asleep, never when she was with the kids....it was mainly to get her a good night's sleep..."

Before the accident, Diane is seen on a convenience store security camera wandering around before returning to her car packed with children- was she trying to buy medication for a migraine? We'll never know. What we do know is that the blood tests taken on her after the accident reveal elevated alcohol and marijuana levels. Diane's relatives don't believe the report- must be some mistake. So they demand a retest, which reveals the same thing. They still don't believe it- "what are we supposed to do now?" They meet with an expert on the subject- "could the tests be flawed, could it be the result of a stroke from an abscessed tooth?" No. "Should we dig up her body and have her tested again?"

By the end of the documentary, we realize that Diane's family will simply not be convinced that Diane was in any way responsible for the accident, which occurred after Diane drove her minivan 1.7 miles at 70 MPH in the wrong direction, in the fast lane, in almost straight line, before colliding with another car (and killing everyone in that other car.
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Format: DVD
As an ex-drinker whose decision to quit was highly motivated by the increasing frequency and severity of blackouts - I can say from personal experience this was a classic case of blackout behavior. Like Diane, no one ever suspected I had a serious drinking problem; by all appearances I was smart, sweet, kind and thoughtful - there was no hint of the underlying darkness that swirled around me.

Let me tell you a little about blackouts. It's like flipping a switch - one second you are fully aware of your surroundings, the next second you are in another space and time. It's instantaneous. That's why she can appear normal at the gas station and within 30 minutes be driving the wrong way on the freeway. During a blackout your body still functions - but you are no longer in charge. One can speak, eat, even drive - but 'you' are gone. Your body is going through the motions, but there is someone/something else in control. Unfortunately, this someone/something else doesn't always get it quite right. So in her blackout state, she was able to drive and stay in one lane - but there was no awareness of right way or wrong way. The 'normal' world no longer existed for her.

Her family can deny all they want, but take it from someone who knows - she blacked out. And in this blackout state, her usual sense of awareness, consciousness, morality and mortality no longer existed - and it was in this state that she killed eight people.
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Format: DVD
The true mystery to me is the behavior of Daniel Schuler and his sister in law Jay. Quite frankly, I find Daniel a most unlikeable person. He complains about the burdens of "doing everything on his own" and "being a single parent", and in the next shot his sister in law Jay, who watches Bryan in the afternoons and evenings, tells us that he has the whole day off and still complains. He never mentions his deceased daughter at all, and the thing that seems to distress him most, judging by his behavior, is that he misses his late wife's $100,000 yearly paycheck.
Jay declares that as far as she knew, Diane only smoked pot very occasionally, at bedtime to help her sleep. Then Jay lights up a cigarette for the camera and says with a little chuckle that no one knows she smokes. Hmm.
While Bryan pages through the special photo album Daddy made for him, there is a photo of his deceased sister Erin holding a beer bottle. Nice.
Then, these two sit at a table with Dr. Werner Spitz, one of the most respected forensic pathologist of his time, and after he kindly explains to them that he finds the pathology reports on Diane to be correct, they ask him with straight faces if he feels there may have been a mistake and if they should have her body exhumed. He looks at them as if to say, "You're kidding, right?"
Most telling of all, at the end of the movie, Bryan and Daniel walk along together in what is supposed to be a warm father son moment, but when Daniel reaches for Bryan's hand, his son swats it away.
There is no justification for what Diane Schuler did, whatever her reasons were, or whatever happened. But all I am sensing from the Schuler family is a truckload of guilt, and a king size case of denial.
My heart goes out to the Hances, the Bastardis, the Longos, and to Bryan Schuler.
55 Comments 211 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Amazon Video
Reading over the reviews here, it's hard to separate thoughts on the quality of the documentary; from opinions about what caused this woman to drive intoxicated and destroy so many innocent lives. Personally, I didn't care for the documentary style at all. I felt disappointed that, in the end, nothing of substance was revealed. The description and trailer prepared me for the "inconclusive" ending. But I was not prepared for so few actual known facts to be presented. I felt that the film-makers assumed everyone already knew the details of this story and didn't need to bother filling us in on all that crucial information.

Like others here, I agree that the documentary was disorganized, out of sequence, and repetitive. Many obvious questions were never asked, or glossed over. And way too much time was spent on "filler" like arial shots of freeways, road travel, driving through through neighborhoods and past road signs. Time that I wished was spent addressing more details of the story. Such as: what occurred at the gas station. What exactly did Diane say to the clerk? Couldn't they have interviewed the cashier at Sunoco, or quoted the police report on it? She pulled up to the pump; did she actually purchase gas and pay for it? Considering they played the footage so many times, I found it odd that the documentary gave so few details of what took place during the stop.

Rather than all that filler-footage, I would have liked more actual details about the camping trip, the rest stop, and accident. No interviews or details from other campers, about whether Diane and Daniel were fighting, or partying all night? Was it planned that they were going to be the only adults there? Or the other parents cancelled last minute? Why didn't one or two kids ride in the truck with the Dad?
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