The premise behind Emmy Award-winning Rachel Dretzin’s Far From the Tree is both simple and profound. Based on the 2012 bestselling book Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon (who’s also a producer on the doc and one of the main characters), the film challenges its audience to reexamine some fundamental assumptions about human traits which society deems “defects.” Instead offering the radical notion of celebrating those “flaws” rather than attempting to “fix” them.
Case in point is Solomon’s own experience as that of a closeted gay man during a time when homosexuality was still classified as a psychological problem. He observed that which was once considered the “illness of homosexuality” slowly morph over the years into what we now recognize as the “identity of gayness.” As a now happily married man with a husband and several kids, he began to wonder what other types of folks out there didn’t need to be “cured”? Which in turn led him on a ten-year-long odyssey into the lives of families with challenging children, born “far from the tree” with autism, Down syndrome, dwarfism, and many more renegade identities.
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