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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Gay > Transgender > Civil Rights > Adoption > Movie Stars > Prodigal Sons (2008/First Run DVD)

Prodigal Sons (2008/First Run DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Feature: B-



Kimberly Reed has a story to tell and it is one that leads to other stories and amazing revelations in Prodigal Sons (2008), which begins as an examination of her life as a woman (she was born a man), adds her family life, examines her adopted brother who turns out to be the grandson of to of the most important actors in Hollywood history and make for a fine, honest story of living in a small town.


More than just the story of a woman who was once the local quarterback of the high school football team when she was a male teen who seemed happy, she left and after sorting out private issues, decided to become a woman outright.  Kimberly returns to face her past and find closure, uncertain how her family, friends and associates will see it.  Her birth brother is good with it, as is her mother and many others, but her adopted brother (who has health problems) has general issues with her that stem more from older non-gender issues than anything else.


There is much to see here at 86 minutes, but I wanted more and I wanted this to be longer, as I felt some unanswered questions lingered about Kimberly and more could have been said.  However, his is a boldly honest work that was very brave for Miss Reed to even make and likely reflects more hidden lives than we could ever imagine, making it one of the most interesting documentaries of late in a series of many fine ones.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image has its newest footage originate on digital High Definition video, but also includes family film footage in Super 8mm and 16mm, plus 35mm Hollywood film clips & analog NTSC video footage, so it is an interesting mix and well edited.  Just expect more weak images than usual, but that was the only way to do it and some newer footage has haloing and motion blur.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is stereo in the present, then varyingly monophonic from all the different past footage.  Extras include text comments from the family, a Q&A session and reunion short.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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