Posted on November 03, 2009 at 10:47 AM
This lively, personal documentary takes a well-worn topic -- divorce -- and reminds us that it's all around us, dynamic and present, whether or not we always realize it.
Even though I'm a mother and wife who's not going through a divorce and didn't as a kid either, I felt the material in this documentary was very familiar -- so many of my childhood friends and current friends have coped with divorce. At the same time, the piece peels away emotional layers that are not often discussed. It reveals the nuanced pain and even damage suffered by kids of divorce who nevertheless went on to lead successful lives; even Sasha herself admits that it took her years to acknowledge the negative aspects of her parents' divorce, since she'd always been proudly dismissive when people talked of "broken homes."
As narrator/writer/producer, Sasha carries the story from the viewpoint of the child of divorce who's now a mother. It's personal without being overly confessional. The personal parts feel well-integrated into the broader issue of divorce across society. The writing is very accessible, the delivery intimate and comfortable. The story itself moves along fast, with a good variety of material and sound (including her own parents listening back to their wedding vows). And there's great use of archival pop-culture sound, that really brings us post-baby boomers right back to the 70s. (Free to Be You and Me! Kramer vs. Kramer!)
The second part of the documentary is more informational -- about how divorce has changed over the last thirty years -- but it still feels personal and intimate. There are some pretty tough perspectives about marriage, and the responsibility that parents, even unhappy ones, should have for their kids. It also features great interviews with wise, articulate children from today -- who you can imagine turning into the 40-year-old kids who are now reflecting on the divorce of their childhoods.