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Parents' Guide to

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

By Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Tense, twisting crime docu is deeply disturbing.

Movie NR 2008 95 minutes
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+

So so so sad but the grandparents are saints.

This is one of the saddest movies you’ll ever watch but it introduces us to two of the best people, Andrew’s parents. They are as close to saints as I can imagine. It has good lessons on relationships and things to look out for. Bring a box of tissues.
age 18+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (3 ):

Dear Zachary is best for older teens who can withstand the darkest of motives, the most painful of losses, and the most unforgivable of legal negligence. The subject matter in Dear Zachary is disturbing enough -- Bagby's family, friends, and former colleagues suffer terribly over his murder, to say nothing of the criminal justice system's dreadful negligence in naming and punishing his killer. But the film's style doesn't do viewers any favors. Every emotional moment is played for maximum effect, with repeated phrases, anguished tears, profanity, and pictures of Bagby as a child and young man often intercut with the sound of loud gunshots, disturbing music, and angles that give viewers the sense he's being murdered again and again on-screen.

Suspenseful plot twists in the real-life case make the emotional unease even more intense: Turner is discovered to be pregnant with Bagby's son, and now the grandparents (whose fortitude is one of the brightest spots in this tragic tale) must not only fight for custody and visitation rights but also negotiate and spend time with their son's alleged killer to be in Zachary's life. And then there's the twist that's darker and sadder than everything that comes before it, to the extent that it makes the rest of the film look like an episode of Law and Order.

Movie Details

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