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Prodigal Sons (DVD Review)

18 Jul, 2010 By: Angelique Flores

Street 7/21/10
First Run
Box Office $0.07 million
$24.95 DVD
Not rated.

In Prodigal Sons, two siblings come home, looking at their past in order to help them with who they are now. Narrated by the middle child and the film’s director, Kimberly Reed, who used to be called Paul, the movie starts out with her story. But the film ends up focusing more on troubled oldest son Marc.

As a young man, Paul was a high-school football star, a good academic student and popular boy with both the guys and girls. After high school, he moved to San Francisco and went through the transformation to become a woman. Kim now lives in New York working as a magazine editor, hiding her past as a male.

Meanwhile, Marc was held back in preschool, putting him in the same class with Paul. Not as smart and not as talented in sports, Marc resented Paul and his success. Being the only adopted brother, he also always wondered about his own birth family. (He later learns he’s the grandson of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth.) A car accident caused doctors to remove part of Marc’s brain when he was 21, and he has been suffering seizures and violent mood swings ever since.

Marc and Kim are put back into each other’s lives when they both come home to Montana for their 20-year high-school reunion. They had been estranged for more than a decade. From there, Kim tries to mend her relationship with Marc to become close to her brother and to help him with his health.

It’s difficult and frustrating to watch Marc and his mood swings, and the hurt in Kim’s eyes when he berates her about being transgender. The old footage and photos from when Kim and Marc were children and teenagers adds a dimension to the story that couldn’t just be narrated.

Prodigal Sons is a gripping, heartwrenching film. Marc can’t let go of what he could have been, and Kim can’t run fast enough away from what she was. There’s not much resolution, probably because there never can be. But it’s a moving, complex story that keeps you glued to the screen.

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