My Brother's Keeper

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Indeed, truth is stranger than fiction. Quoting from Genesis 4:8-9, this film documents the strange but true events surrounding the death of Bill Ward, the eldest of four brothers. Although the four brothers are in their sixties, the townsfolk of rural Munnsville, NY, have always called them "the boys," because of their simple and childlike ways. The "boys" dote on each other while living in filth and squalor. Suddenly, Bill's death is proclaimed by the authorities to be murder, and brother Delbert is charged with homicide. Even though "the boys" have been outcasts in society, the town rallies to help defend Delbert. There are dances and fundraising suppers, where Delbert glows in the unexpected attention. The simple, homey townsfolk, especially the three brothers, contrast sharply with the slick, well-educated lawyers and law enforcement people. Interviews are conducted with local people who speak their recollections of "the boys," as well as their guesses as to what actually happened the day of Bill's death. Brief glimpses of the trial slip dramatically in between the scenes of fundraisers and interviews, climaxing in the full courtroom scene and trial. Starring the real Ward brothers, this documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky captures the essence of the people and fascinates the viewer.

The earthy citizens speak many crudities and profanities during their interviews. However, none of the three brothers utters even one foul word. The special closeness among the townspeople is reminiscent of a small town in the '50s or '60s. As such, the beginning verse in Genesis relates to being one's brother's keeper, which is abundantly shown by the townspeople and the brothers themselves. A neighbor comments that it made him think of Jesus Christ when they brought Delbert in to jail. A hog shot, slit open and butchered entirely on screen is not a scene for the squeamish. At the trial, the lawyers hint that a homosexual relationship exists between the brothers and convince the court to demand a test for rape. Ultimately the brothers overcome their grief through the outpouring of love and concern from their neighbors. MY BROTHER'S KEEPER is a true love story about people who pull together for the good of one of their own, even though an outcast.

Preview Reviewer: Alice Anderson
Creative Thinking International Limited, PO Box 256, Prince Station, NY 10012

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (20) times - Mild 16; Moderate 4

Obscene Language: Few (3) times (s-word 1; f-word 2)

Profanity: Many (19) times - regular

Violence: Once (bloody hog butchering, knife/cleaver on screen)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Once (lawyers discuss sperm test)

Drugs: Few times - Alcohol drinking

Other: None

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Intended Audience:

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