Movie Review: “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father”

This documentary made by Kurt Kuenne devastated me, so much so that I felt guilty I didn’t cry. It hit me hard twice: once from the Andrew Bagby’s mother’s reaction to her son’s murder, and then twice when I found out [SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS: PLEASE DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE DOCUMENTARY. I THINK YOU MAY REGRET THE EMOTIONS YOU COULD’VE FELT.] that Shirley Jane Turner also murdered Andrew’s son Zachary. Kuenne’s intentional deceit in the title and in the structure of the documentary worked: he duped me and my reward for falling for the dupe was deep sadness. I believed the small blonde boy that first appears at ~00:01:07 in the documentary was Zachary. That is not the documentary “Dear Zachary” turned out to be. I feel sadness, like a secondhand grieving. My sadness combines with anger towards Canada and the U.S.’s justice systems. In all honesty, it’s the first time I’ve felt that sadness and anger combination directed at the justice system with regard to white people in a long time.

The friend who recommended this documentary to me cried when she first watched it. Then she watched it a second time and cried again.

I watched this documentary on Netflix in bed as the sun was setting on June 26th, 2017. I was wearing only boxer briefs and I turned off the air conditioner in my bedroom during the first quarter of the documentary. A fan on the floor continued to run at the highest setting throughout my watching.

Here is a link to the video that was the very first post on my Tumblr dashboard during one of the emotional breaks I needed to take during the documentary: I felt I needed emotional breaks during the documentary, much like I did during Harmony Korine’s “Julien Donkey-Boy” and “Gummo”. I didn’t quite laugh at the YouTube video. I interpreted Stephen Colbert’s final lines and thought of how people and I prefer to live in a reality where the people we/I love are invincible. I just readjusted the pillows behind my head. I just listened to the fan going on the highest setting in my room and thought of how I should be washing the sheets in this bed more often because of summertime sweat. I just thought of how grateful I am the baby Zachary passed away unconscious. I hope he was dreaming of the unfiltered joy that babies can dream while he passed away.

Maybe some people are pure evil. Evil was probably Shirley Jane Turner’s only function while she was alive. She was here on Earth to be evil. Manipulative, possessed, crazy, calculated, Satan. She was here to cause Kathleen and David Bagby scathing pain. She was here to force this documentary to be made. The judges and social workers involved should be fired. I just mistyped “fired” as “fried” and then had to correct it. They should be fired and then charged with being accomplices to child murder. It may qualify as manslaughter.

Hearing Andrew’s father shout the word “bitch” about Turner was cathartic for me, and so was hearing him describe his plans for murdering Turner. He really considered murdering her. Kuenne’s redirection of the documentary’s purpose to honoring Kathleen and David Bagby was a positive. I am grateful for people like them that dedicate their lives to fight for changing laws and improving life on Earth. Kathleen and David Bagby started a grieving group for people that lost loved ones to violent crimes.

Quote at ~1:28:58, with 00:04:24 remaining: “I think God put some people down on Earth just to be examples for the rest of us.”


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