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My Flesh and Blood (2003)

  Directed by: Jonathan Karsh
Starring: Anthony Tom, Faith Tom, Joe Tom, Margaret Tom, Susan Tom, Xenia Tom
Links: My Flesh and Blood on the IMDb, Official site
Genre: Documentary

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Into another world" - a review by pearly

On my way down the street towards an eating establishment after having just finished watching My Flesh and Blood, I bumped into a person I work with. She asked me what I had been up to, but I couldn't answer properly, because I felt like there were still tears on my face, and I couldn't think straight as I was still totally immersed in what I had just seen.

Yes, My Flesh and Blood is that kind of documentary. One which makes you sit up straight in your chair, and take everything in. One which makes you forget where you are, and sit there, open-mouthed, and leaning in a slightly funny direction, because you're totally mesmerised, and your mind is going a hundred kilometres an hour thinking about everything you're seeing.

It's the kind of documentary which takes your full attention, but is a different experience for everyone. For me, I was mostly thinking about how I would possibly cope were I in any of the subject's shoes. And I'd go from one to the other. How would I cope being a mother of 11 (adopted) special needs children? Or being any one of those children myself? It is something which is out of the realms of imagination for me, yet still I tried to work it out in my head. I'm sure that's what many people do whilst watching this documentary.

My Flesh and Blood introduces us to Susan Tom, the mother of this unlikely bunch of children. There is Joe Tom, who has cystic fibrosis and has a bit of ADHD thrown into the bargain. Anthony Tom has a degenerative skin disorder which causes his skin to basically fall off his body. He has to be bathed in bleach to stop infection. Xenia Tom was born with no legs (as was one of the other girls in the family), and Faith Tom was severely burned as a baby. Both of these girls are amazingly bubbly and happy in most everything they do.

And then there's Margaret Tom, the eldest child, who survived childhood epilepsy. She now juggles many things: school, social life, looking after her brothers and sisters, helping around the house, and so on. With so many children, Susan doesn't have all the time for Margaret that she would sometimes like, and Margaret struggles with this on top of everything else.

The Toms are not a perfect family, there is plenty going on which could be improved, but it's still inspirational to see a family like this going through life as well as they do. My Flesh and Blood has a few flaws: it doesn't introduce the family well enough, making you feel a little lost at the beginning, and even towards the end there are still some faces which you feel you haven't met properly. Information on the children's disabilities I had to look up on a website, because this was not always communicated, but overall, it's a pretty well put together piece, and although you have to be in the right frame of mind to watch it, it is extremely interesting and thought-provoking if you are.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 12 Aug 2004

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Number of reviews: 1
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Reader comments

  1. I met these girls at my school (katie, Xenia and hannah) and we instantly became friends well one day they told me they had a move out and i wanted to see it soooo bad, so i went out and rented it and watched about 7 times and cried each time...these girls are extremly sweet!!and i love them to death!!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Kristian on Fri 17 Jun 2005 09:04 #

  2. It's so engrossing. I watched it 4 times in 2 days. I love it.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Allison on Wed 31 May 2006 04:29 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (2 ratings)

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