Sending Off SXSW 2003

Film Reviews


D: Jonathan Karsh.

Documentary Feature Special Screenings If you attend enough film festivals in your life, you grow wearily accustomed to that old indie-movie standby: the dysfunctional family film. How refreshing then that director Jonathan Karsh has chosen to share the story of supermom Susan Tom, den mother to one of the most functional families you'll ever meet. It's astonishing at times how Tom, who has opened her heart and her home to 11 special-needs children (now 12, since filming ended), succeeds in preserving such a sense of togetherness among her adopted kids. Karsh and crew spent more than a year with their courageous subjects, capturing everything from the joys of first love to the incomparable pain of losing a child. What kind of single woman has the strength to accept the challenges of raising such a family? Whether you consider her saintly or insane, Susan Tom clearly sets the example for a place where exceptional children that the world might prefer to dismiss as "freaks" are instead treated as part of the group.

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