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Far From The Tree: Celebrating Diversity and Embracing Differences

Far From the Tree is a captivating documentary film that explores the ideas and concepts of identity, intersectionality and acceptance. The movie is based on the New York bestselling novel, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon.

Directed by Rachel Dretzin, this poignant and thought-provoking film tells the stories of several families who learn to accept and cherish their children, despite their differences and challenges. The movie introduces us to different families, each with their unique stories of parenting children with disabilities, unexpected talents, and identities that differ from their own.

The audience gets to meet Jack, who is diagnosed with Down syndrome, Loini, who is deaf, Jason, who is diagnosed with autism, and Trevor, who is gay, and several other individuals. These families share their experiences and struggles as they navigate their way around societal expectations and accept their children for who they are.

Throughout the documentary, the families’ journeys are powerfully portrayed, and we see each person’s quest for acceptance and acknowledgment. The characters’ encounters with identity, intersectionality, and societal norms inspire a sense of compassion, understanding, and hope in the hearts of viewers.

As the movie unfolds, the different struggles and accomplishments of each family member inspire empathy towards their plight. One family represented in the movie includes Jason, a young man diagnosed with Autism.

His family’s story of unconditional acceptance and realistic expectations provides a unique insight into raising a child with autism. The parents’ journey and growth towards acceptance and understanding is admired through their grit and tenacity.

Through Jason’s story, we see the complex nature of autism, and how it manifests in different people, making this condition more widely accepted and understood. Another character, Loini, who is deaf, goes against the norms and expectations set for ‘acceptable’ children with ‘acceptable’ qualities.

Her story opens up a world of understanding for people like her and the various parts of the deaf community. Trevor’s story of coming out to his family and how it affected his relationships with his parents brings a striking balance between approval, but also the lack of understanding and acceptance faced by LGBTQ individuals.

Far From The Tree is an eye-opening journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and identity. The movie highlights the fact that differences, far from being abnormalities, should be celebrated and accepted as part of the human experience.

The film showcases different human experiences through its portrayal of parenting and its complexities. The documentary’s structure, including the use of subheadings, short and long sentences, and bullet points, make it highly engaging and easy to follow.

The documentary provides a sincere narrative that resonates with the viewer and shows that it is possible to have empathy even for things you do not understand.

In conclusion, Far From The Tree is a powerful and touching documentary about the beauty and value of human diversity.

It shows people from different walks of life and how they celebrate and cherish their children, regardless of their differences and challenges. It is a must-watch movie for everyone, as it challenges the viewer’s preconceived notions about normalcy and encourages empathy and compassion.

Far From The Tree is an emotional and empowering documentary that delves into the complexities of identity, intersectionality, and acceptance. The film offers a diverse range of stories, each with its unique twist to engage the audience fully.

The interaction of these stories, balanced with expert commentary and archival footage, is not only informative but enlightening. The first story presented in Far From The Tree features the Solomons, the family of Andrew Solomon, the author of the book on which this documentary is based.

They are the thread that runs through the movie, featuring commentary and insights that offer readers a male narrator’s perspective. The drama begins with reflections on the estrangement Solomon felt from his parents because of his identity.

He is gay, a fact that his parents could not accept, initially causing years of difficulty in their relationship. The Solomon family’s story is a recurring tale of acceptance as the family learns to understand Solomon’s life journey and is trained to be supportive.

The other stories in the film center around families with children who often grapple with societal norms of identity and inclusion. There is Loini, a deaf girl part of a deaf family who navigates her communication skills, and then there is Jack, a boy with Down syndrome, the youngest of three kids, who initially struggles to find a place in his family.

One of the most astonishing stories in the movie is that of Leah Petersen. Leah’s mother and father, Stacey and Jason, didn’t find out until she was eight that she had dwarfism (Achondroplasia), a condition that profoundly affected her ability to function independently.

The challenges they faced in dealing with the issues surrounding dwarfism are well-highlighted, giving the viewer a better understanding of a day in the life of a person living with the condition. Another family featured in the film is the Dohertys, Ashleigh, and her son Trevor.

Trevor comes out as gay to his family, sharing his deepest fear of not being accepted by those he loves the most. His mother, Ashleigh, initially struggles to understand his sexual orientation, but as the story unfolds, we see her journey towards full acceptance of her son.

The Dohertys’ story serves as a beautiful example of a parent’s transition from lack of understanding to accepting their child, regardless of their identity. Far From The Tree is an emotional roller coaster ride for those who view it.

From the heart-warming progressions in the Solomon’s family acceptance of Andrew’s sexuality to the confrontational issues stigmatized by society. The movie highlights the struggle of parenting children whose identity is not always theirs or the society’s perceived norm.

The film’s structure is one that allows for easy viewing of different storylines without lessening the impact of each. Each character highlights the challenges and joys of individual differences and the beauty that can be found in them.

Far From The Tree is an extraordinary addition to the works of those who try to push through societal expectations and present the world with a different lens. Overall the film’s message centers on acceptance, love, and compassion for everyone, however different they may be.

It is a message that is well-needed in our society today, where prejudices are so rife, and people find it challenging to accept those who do not fit into their idea of what is normal. The stories in the documentary are given a voice that allows their experiences of identity and intersectionality to be heard, and perhaps, more importantly, valued.

For anyone struggling with the challenges of parenting a child with different abilities, the documentary is a must-watch, providing a wealth of understanding and empathy. It is a documentary that champions the differences in people and presents them as unique and valuable.

Far From The Tree is a documentary that is more than a film, but rather a mirror for individuals to see themselves, others, and the world, in the light of love and acceptance. Far From The Tree is a remarkable documentary that is expertly crafted by director Rachel Dretzin.

Decades of experience have gone into assembling the film and ensuring that the final production matches the film’s underlying captivating script that the audience can resonate with. One aspect that stands out is the use of archival footage throughout the film.

Despite its short runtime, the documentary, through its use of archival footage, takes the viewer on a journey through history, effectively contextualizing the different stories presented in the film. By sampling archived footage of activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Harvey Milk, the documentary draws a parallel with the fight for civil rights in America.

The production stands as a testament of how far society has come in accepting those deemed different and highlights areas that need more work. Another remarkable aspect of the film is the quality of the cinematography that stands out from most documentaries.

The film’s visual quality, coupled with an exceptional composition and sound design, plays a significant role in the film’s successful execution. The film creators ensured the production quality stayed top-notch to match the underlying message of the documentary.

The seamless editing between footage and interviews sets the pace at which the movie runs, reviving the history for the audience. The interviews’ sound recording and subsequent editing are perfect and spot on, creating an environment that feels connected with the audience.

One of the scenes that stand out is the scene where Jack, a young boy with Down Syndrome, is in the park with his sister. The scene is masterfully done, with a relaxed pace.

The music score takes center stage, coinciding with the natural loop that emerges between the siblings. Footage like this makes it easy for everyone to understand the challenges some families face and how a little empathy as individuals can help.

Additionally, Far From The Tree’s engaging narrative and storytelling techniques, such as the exposition masterfully injects expert insights which contextualizes each case in the film. These insights are primarily by famed researcher Andrew Solomon, who uses his experience to help the audience make sense of the different circumstances presented.

Furthermore, the documentary uses well-chosen, supporting music from various genres, creating the documentary’s overall emotional experience. From contemporary upbeat tracks to classical music, the music used in the film helped accentuate the central messages and amplify the supporting stories altogether.

The cast of the documentary, including the families, children, and other experts in the field of psychiatry and medicine, bring a diverse mix of culture and life experience which enriches every aspect of the movie. The character arcs, including Solomons’ family, who serves as the central thread, are delicately balanced so that each plot changes the mood of the audience.

The dynamic cast makes the movie exceptional and allows the audience to understand the different issues posed from different perspectives. In summary, Far From The Tree is an incredible production that does not falter on any aspect.

The documentary’s effortless blend of historical facts and unique storytelling style offers a fantastic cinematic journey with historical and cultural value. A definitive example of a documentary that prioritizes making an impact over entertainment.

The documentary is both thought-provoking and tear-inducing, snatching the viewer into various waves of emotions as the story unfolds. The production crew use state-of-the-art technology to make the stories more valuable to the viewer, integrating different forms of media, including music and sound, making the documentary an experience like no other.

Far From The Tree, directed by Rachel Dretzin and based on Andrew Solomon’s New York Times best-selling book, was released in 2018. The film had its world premiere at the DOC NYC film festival held on November 16, 2017.

Before its theatrical release, the documentary enjoyed screenings at several prestigious film festivals worldwide and was well-received. After its screening at DOX NYC, Far From The Tree was picked up by Sundance Selects/IFC Films for distribution in the US, with a limited theatrical release on July 20, 2018.

The film was released in theaters across the United States by IFC Films and grossed over $350,000 in box office returns. The limited theatrical release of Far From The Tree was an instant success, receiving high praise from critics, audiences, and famous personalities alike.

Oprah Winfrey praised the documentary on social media, hailing it as a “film that moved and inspired” her, and director Ava DuVernay describing it as “a profound exploration of identity, family, and love.” The positive reception helped the film gain more traction with audiences, leading to a successful run in the indie box office scene. Following the movie’s theatrical run, the documentary was released on DVD and on-demand streaming platforms worldwide, including Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and iTunes.

This made it possible for audiences to watch the documentary at the comfort of their homes, creating more accessibility while fueling more interest. The film’s producers did an exemplary job marketing the film ahead of its release and throughout its screening period.

They used various publicity platforms, including social media, festivals, and panel discussions, to create awareness and generate buzz. The trailer for the film was well received, making it easy for moviegoers to understand its premise before deciding to purchase a ticket.

The film’s release during the summer holidays allowed students and other movie buffs with free time to catch it at different times of the day. It’s essential to mention that the documentary’s use of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram played a significant role in generating discussion around the documentary.

Many people would later chime in by expressing gratitude for the movie, which helped to start a broader conversation around the topics discussed in the documentary. In conclusion, the release of Far From The Tree was successful, both critically and commercially.

The documentary’s limited theatrical release coupled with smart marketing allowed the film to reach as many audiences as possible, both in theaters and on streaming platforms. Additionally, the documentary’s positive reception by critics, famous personalities, and audiences alike created buzz, which spiraled into a worldwide conversation around issues of identity, intersectionality, and acceptance.

Far From The Tree was an important film, and the way it was disseminated during its release was essential in getting the message out, making it a must-watch film for anyone looking for inspiration and insight on human culture. The soundtrack of Far From The Tree is a beautiful blend of different genres that creates a thrilling and emotional experience for the audience.

The soundtrack features a mix of contemporary, classical, indie, and world music, perfectly capturing the mood of the different storylines showcased in the documentary. The film’s score is primarily composed by Nico Muhly, who incorporates different musical styles ranging from classical to electronic music to create a distinctive soundtrack.

The music effectively captures the various moods and emotional tones of the documentary, embodying the different character stories amplifying the overall beauty and richness of the film. One of the most notable tracks in the film is Tomorrow’s Song, the film’s opening credit song.

Sung by Israeli singer-songwriter Yael Naim, the song is a beautiful rendition that creates an upbeat yet emotive start to the documentary. The rhythm of Tomorrow’s Song captures the energy and enthusiasm of the film’s diverse cast, making it the perfect opener to the documentary.

The soundtrack also features music from several contemporary artists, such as Sufjian Stevens, Jon Hopkins, and So Percussion, amongst others. Their music adds a dynamic and upbeat feel to the documentary, creating an added layer of vibrancy to each character’s journey and experiences.

The integration of such music pairs excellently with the film’s storylines, creating an atmosphere that is both lyrical and emotional. The use of classical music is also quite effective in the documentary.

The use of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 creates a disturbing contrast to Trevor’s journey of coming out to his mother and the difficulty she had accepting and understanding his situation. The classical music enhances the emotional weight of the scene, making it more poignant and impactful.

The movie’s team used music incredibly well to break the ice in some tense scenes. For example, in the scene where Jack participates in the stage play, the music helps to create the environment that highlights Jack’s performing talent.

The rhythmic feel of the music heightens the tension in the scene as it nears its climax, something the audience can easily resonate with. In summary, the soundtrack of Far From The Tree is an integral part of the film, playing a significant role in enhancing its emotional impact.

The diversity of the music, ranging from classical to indie and contemporary, creates a bold and unique soundscape that showcases the complexity of individual stories presented in the documentary. The soundtrack adds an extra touch of vibrancy to the film and draws the viewer closer to the different stories, making it more understandable and relatable.

Notably, the music composition and use helped set the tone of the documentary, creating a cohesive yet digestible experience that complements the message of the entire documentary. In conclusion, Far From The Tree is a beautifully produced and thought-provoking documentary that explores the complexities of identity, intersectionality, and acceptance.

The film’s seamless editing, use of archival footage, diverse cast, and captivating soundtrack bring depth and emotional impact to the documentary. The film highlights the beauty of individual differences and encourages empathy and compassion towards those whose identities do not conform to societal expectations.


Q: What is Far From The Tree about? A: Far From The Tree is a documentary film that explores the complexities of identity, intersectionality, and acceptance through the lens of several families whose children do not fit into society’s perceived norm.

Q: Who directed Far From The Tree? A: The documentary was directed by Rachel Dretzin.

Q: What is the soundtrack of Far From The Tree like? A: The soundtrack features a mix of contemporary, classical, indie, and world music, perfectly capturing the mood of each scene in the documentary.

Q: Where can I watch Far From The Tree? A: The documentary is available for streaming on a variety of platforms, including Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and iTunes.

Q: What themes does Far From The Tree explore? A: The documentary explores themes of identity, intersectionality, acceptance, and non-conformity, highlighting the beauty of individual differences and encouraging empathy and compassion towards those whose identities do not conform to societal expectations.

Q: Is Far From The Tree worth watching? A: Yes, the documentary is a thought-provoking and emotional journey that offers valuable insights and an opportunity for viewers to empathize with individuals facing societal and familial challenges due to their differences.

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