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A Compelling, but Troubling Portaint of Family

8/10
Author: JustCuriosity from Austin, TX, United States
14 March 2009

Lance, Craig, Ubaldo, and Larry aren't family in the traditional sense of the word. They aren't related, but they have formed a family unit together for 20 years - albeit a somewhat dysfunctional one. Larry is an elderly man who takes care of his 3 schizophrenic "sons." It is a stressful problematic family headed by an increasingly dysfunctional and sometimes violent alcoholic. The film provides us with a window into a world that most of us, thankfully, don't have to experience, but unfortunately are rarely aware exists. Their story is compelling and deeply troubling indictment of our social welfare system. They are living on the margins of our society in a cheap hotel in Alameda, CA. Their biological families don't want them or can't take care of them. Nobody else really wants them and the State of California is clearly not doing enough to provide them with the treatment that these men desperately need.

Sons of a Gun is a very personal film about a very troubled group of men that have little more than themselves and a few friends to rely on. The filming is clearly done with love. It is also a statement about the failure of American society help those who need the most help and to find a place for those who are struggling with demons that are beyond their control.

Perhaps most importantly the film helps to humanize a group of people - the mentally ill - who most often are treated with "a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" attitude by American society. This film should be seen by people so that our society will begin to address the struggles of the mentally ill - perhaps the most ignored and forgotten members of American society.

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