Painful, Depressing ‘Must Read After My Death’ Window Into the Dark Side of Family
CHICAGO – If someone had a recording of the dissolution of a seemingly perfect family, would you listen? What would you learn from it? You can test your answer to these questions with the riveting “Must Read After My Death,” a fly-on-the-wall documentary using only silent home movies and audio recordings of a family in steep, depressing decline.
Filmmaker Morgan Dews was always close to his grandmother Allis, but he had no idea about the dark past that barely preceded his existence. In the ’60s, Allis lived a dark life with husband Charley and kids Anne, Chuck, Douglas, and Bruce. And they recorded all of it on a Dictaphone that they used as a friend, game, confessor, and shrink.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Must Read After My Death” in our reviews section.|
When Allis Dews dies in 2001, she left behind hundreds of hours of tape. Morgan has edited the audio down to a glimpse at the trajectory of the Dews family in the ’60s in just 73 minutes. Much like AMC’s “Mad Men,” Sam Mendes’ “Revolutionary Road,” or the fascinating “Capturing the Friedmans,” Dews’ film illuminates the darkness just beyond the picket fence.
Allis met Charley Dews just after WWII. The two had been married before but they split with their first spouses and headed off to live the dream life together. But they were an unconventional couple. Early recordings sent back and forth while Charley was in Australia make it clear that the Dews lived in an “open” marriage, something that seemed unconventional but was already tinged with sorrow before they even really had a family.
Must Read After My Death
Photo credit: Gigantic Pictures