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Why Can't We Be a Family Again? (2002)

Two extraordinary brothers struggle to believe in their mother's love.



Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Narrator (voice)


A portrait of a family preparing for a child welfare hearing in Brooklyn. Daniel and Raymond Jacobs have been in the care of their grandmother, Ursula, for seven years, because their mother Kitten is a drug addict. The filmmakers follow them during the period before the hearing: the boys, now in high school and middle school, voice their hopes for their mother's rehabilitation and for a normal life with her. Ursula talks about the responsibility she bears. Kitten enters a residential treatment program. Will she make it, and what choices does the court have? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Short | Documentary




Release Date:

4 June 2002 (USA)  »

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Heart-breaking but very important
19 December 2008 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is a documentary film that was included in the excellent DVD "Full Frame--Documentary Film Festival: 1". It is the story of a family that is trying to persevere despite the mother's addiction to drugs.

The film begins in the grandmother's home. She is forced to raise her two grandsons due to their mothers addiction. Throughout the film, the goal is apparently for Mom to get her act together and become reunited with her kids. At first, it looks promising, as she's in a long-term treatment half-way house. However, as is often the case, she disappears and goes back to the old life. The film follows the family over what appears to be at least a year or two and it is really heart-breaking to see the impact all the broken promises and dreams have on the kids. You'll probably find yourself crying as the youngest naively thinks everything will work itself out or when you hear the oldest talking about how he had to feed and take care of his brother all alone when he was only five because Mom had abandoned them. What is truly amazing about all this is that in spite of all this crap in their lives, the kids seem so very decent and the oldest seems to have his head on straight--graduating high school part-way through the film and talking about college. I truly hope he makes it--there's so much standing in his way.

To anyone who wants to see the impact of addiction, you need go no further. This is a great film--possibly the best one in the DVD. Well made and captivating throughout.

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