Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dad's in Heaven with Nixon

Dad's in Heaven with Nixon

I decided to watch this documentary based on the Netflix's description. Here it is so you can see what I thought I was getting into.

"Using his autistic brother's colorful art as inspiration, documentarian Tom Murray paints a portrait of his family's complex struggle with his brother's brain damage, his mother's unwillingness to accept it and his father's inability to cope with it. The result is a multifaceted but moving study of the glue that holds families together -- and the destructive forces that can   tear them apart. But, above all, it's a lesson in optimism."

This was of interest to me because I am the aunt of a much loved nephew with autism.  So I hit play.  About twenty minutes in, I began to wonder if the description writer had even seen this movie.   An hour in, I was near despair.  "Optimism" my foot.  Instead it was a self indulgent look at all that was wrong with the documentarian's growing up years and there was plenty of wrong things.  So at the 51 minute point I decided, "If this thing doesn't perk up in ten minute's, I'm done."  Lo an behold, as if they had heard me, it did!  

Suddenly this was whole new film.  It was the film the description had me expecting.  Chris, the autistic brother of the film maker, is an amazing man.  For 30 years he has lived on his own and held down two jobs as a stock clerk and a janitor.  Somewhere along the line he discovered drawing.  As his mother runs with the well to do Manhattan crowd, Gloria Vanderbilt ran across his work and suddenly he had an art show.  There is now a waiting list for his work!  

My husband happened to come in the room right when the movie started to focus on Chris and at the end he said "That was terrific.  You sure can pick a movie." After I finished cracking up, I let him know that in fact, he just had terrific timing.

So here is how I recommend you watch this film.  Watch enough of it to learn who everyone is then fast forward to about 55 minutes and watch to the end.  Here it the trailer.  It gives you a good idea what I am talking about here.

The part about Chris..........5 Stars
The rest of it ......................2 Stars

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on YouTube


  1. Not sure I could take that one, Kel. It looks painful.

  2. Susan- Skip to the last half hour. That part is beautiful!