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Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

8.6
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 12,520 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 56 user | 63 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

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Title: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kurt Kuenne ...
Himself (voice)
Andrew Bagby ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Dr. Andrew Bagby)
David Bagby ...
Himself - Father
Kathleen Bagby ...
Herself - Mother
Shirley Turner ...
Herself - Ex-Girlfriend (archive footage) (as Dr. Shirley Turner)
Zachary Andrew Turner ...
Himself - Son (archive footage) (as Zachary Andrew Bagby)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Heather Arnold ...
Herself - Former Fiance (as Dr. Heather Arnold)
Jon Atkinson ...
Himself - Friend
Bob Bagby ...
Himself - Uncle (archive footage)
Earlene Bagby ...
Herself - Bob's Widow
James Bagby ...
Himself - Cousin
Linda Bagby ...
Herself - Aunt
Pat Bagby ...
Himself - Uncle
Jason Baldwin ...
Himself - Highschool Friend
Derek Barnard ...
Himself - Uncle
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Storyline

In 2001, Andrew Bagby, a medical resident, is murdered not long after breaking up with his girlfriend. Soon after, when she announces she's pregnant, one of Andrew's many close friends, Kurt Kuenne, begins this film, a gift to the child. Friends, relatives, and colleagues say warm and loving things about Andrew, home movies confirm his exuberance. Andrew's parents, Kathleen and David, move to Newfoundland, Canada where the ex-girlfriend has gone. They await an arrest and trial of the murderer. They negotiate with the ex-girlfriend to visit their grandchild, Zachary, and they seek custody. Is there any justice; is Zachery a sweet and innocent consolation for the loss of their son? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Not Rated

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Release Date:

January 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agapite Zachary - Gramma s' ena gio gia ton patera tou  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Kurt Kuenne: On the afternoon on November 7th 2001 my sister called to tell me that doctor Andrew Bagby, my closest friend since the age of 7, had been killed. My name is Kurt and I'm a filmmaker. Andrew appeared in every movie I made growing up. I decided to make a movie, to travel far and wide, to interview everyone who ever knew and loved Andrew.
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User Reviews

An absolutely devastating documentary you will never forget
12 June 2009 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

It makes me sad to see people criticizing "Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father" for its technical limitations. I rented knowing only it was about a pregnant woman who killed her ex-boyfriend, the subsequent plight of the victim's parents and their agonizing efforts to win the custody of their grandson, Zachary (whose mother was released on bail). But the whole story is so unpredictable - and devastatingly sad - that the less you know about it, the better.

Writer/director/producer/composer Kurt Kuenne was a close friend of Dr. Andrew Bagby, who was killed by a psychotic woman, "Dr." Shirley Turner, right after he had broken up with her. He decided to make a final film with his childhood friend Andrew, and when they learned Shirley was pregnant with Andrew's baby, whom she named Zachary, it became more than a tribute to a friend, but a project to show Zachary the father he would never get to know. With Shirley at large, however, their nightmare wasn't over.

With such a tough, emotional subject, it would be easy to get overtly sentimental, but Kuenne does a terrific job. The film is obviously a very personal project, and visibly no-budget, but that's not an issue because this is not a film meant to be visibly stunning. Apparently, some people are way too cynical to appreciate a film for its heart and content rather than focusing on its aesthetics and "artiness". It had a much bigger effect on me than the last Oscar winner for Best Documentary, "Man on Wire" (a fine film itself). Had this film been directed by, say, Michael Moore, it would have been more incendiary and garnered larger media attention, but wouldn't have been half as passionate, compelling and, most important, honest.

Kuenne uses the cinematic tool to document history, make a tribute for beloved friends (not only Andrew and little Zachary, but also Andrew's parents, David and Kathleen, the emotional core of this story) and to instigate the audience, both emotionally and intellectually. When most movies that get a wide release don't even attempt either of these goals, this is a remarkable achievement. Not to be missed. 10/10.


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