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Review: Prodigal Sons

An engrossing, unpredictable, often heartbreaking family-drama documentary
By GERALD PEARY  |  March 9, 2010
3.5 3.5 Stars

Adopted four weeks after he was born and brought up in Helena, Montana, Marc McKerrow suffered through the stress of being compared with his brother, Paul, his high school's valedictorian and star quarterback. Then, at age 21, there was the automobile accident, the brain surgery, and the epileptic seizures.

But Paul was also deeply unhappy, and he left for San Francisco and an eventual sex-change operation! Exit Paul; enter Kimberly Reed, the lesbian filmmaker of this engrossing, unpredictable, often heartbreaking family-drama documentary.

Prodigal Sons brings the story up to the present, as Kimberly and Marc struggle to be friends, though Marc is a wearying, self-pitying, offputting presence whose medications often fail him. And 30 minutes into the film, we suddenly learn that Marc is the grandson of a great "auteur" filmmaker and a 1940s love goddess. Will this news from Hollywood heaven make a difference in Marc's abysmal being?

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