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My Flesh And Blood (2003)My Flesh and Blood (2003)

Susan Tom is a divorced, single mother in California who after having two biological children adopted eleven handicapped children. This emotionally intense documentary film is not about a smiley Brady Bunch, but about a raucous household of children with serious and severe problems—mental, physical, emotional and medical. Faith was horribly disfigured in a fire as an infant. Xenia was born with no legs. Teenager Joe is a deeply angry and explosive child who threatens to kill Xenia; he eventually dies from Cystic Fibrosis. Others are mentally retarded. Susan describes herself as "fat but interesting." Both adjectives understate the case. She does not work outside the home, but instead supports everyone, and her $600 a week grocery bill, from SSI income. Margaret, age 18, is unwillingly conscripted to help make it all work, and breaks down in screams to get her mother's attention. Perhaps the mark of a fine film is that in watching it you think far more about its subjects than about how they are portrayed. My Flesh and Blood won the Audience Documentary Award at the 2003 Sundance festival.

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