When I sat down one unassuming Wednesday night with my wife to check out this film, I already knew what to expect from it because I had read a lot about it online: “It will break your heart.” “It’s the saddest film you will ever see.” “You will cry buckets.” “The events of this story are completely unfathomable.” And, although I usually believe everything I read on the internet, I dismissed these comments as mere hyperbole. I mean, surely it can’t be sooooooo unbelievably heartbreaking, right?
If you haven’t heard of it, this story is basically a love-letter to the family of Dr. Andrew Bagby, who was murdered by his girlfriend Shirley Turner. The filmmaker was a close friend of Andrew’s and he wanted to make it as a way for Andrew’s son, Zachary, to know his father through interviews of family and friends. Doesn’t sound like it could be that sad, right? Well, here’s a brief running diary of my emotions throughout the 90-minute film.
0:20: Small lump in throat, not looking at wife because I know she’s already shedding a tear or two which will make it harder for me not to.
0:42: First inkling of a tear rolls down cheek. Man card=REVOKED.
0:57: Tennis ball-sized lump in throat, beginning to reach “death of my childhood dog when I was 12” status.
1:10: Tears accumulating in rapid fashion; beginning to flow steadily. All bets are off at this point.
1:25: Pools running out of blood-shot eyes; blubbering; wailing; snot everywhere; hugging wife and dog.
1:30: Film ends. Repeat above for 30 more minutes.
So I think that paints a pretty accurate picture of what this film is capable of doing to you. As far as the quality of the film, it’s not a prototypical documentary in that it’s not so much an investigative journalism as much as a home-video from one friend to the family of another; the editing is somewhat overbearing at some points and the music heavy-handed; but because of the personal nature of the story and the downright tragedy of the actual events, this is easy to forgive. I highly recommend exercising your lacrimal glands and giving this one a shot.
**Thanks to fellow film-buff Taylor S. for turning me on to this film.**