Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2017: Mommy Dead and Dearest

The events that lead up to a young woman deciding to murder her mother are broken down in Mommy Dead and Dearest. For her entire life Gypsy Rose Blanchard was publicly perceived as a wheelchair bound girl suffering from leukemia and muscular dystrophy, who received doting support of her mother Dee Dee. However, Dee Dee is found murdered and Gypsy Rose, who is revealed to be perfectly healthy, is arrested for the murder along with her boyfriend Nick Godejohn. However, this turns out only to be the start of the story, as the abuse Gypsy Rose received from her mother comes to light.

I am going to say straight out that Mommy Dead and Dearest is one of the most disturbing true crime documentaries that I have seen. Part of the reasoning for this is the blurred line of who is the real victim of this case. It is revealed that Gypsy Rose was the victim of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, in which her mother concocted all of Gypsy's illnesses and forced her to receive treatments that she didn't need. As such, the film suggests that the murder was the result of Gypsy Rose being pushed to the breaking point.

What makes Mommy Dead and Dearest so disturbing is that even though the film is trying to generate sympathy for Gypsy Rose, there is still no question that she was responsible for her mother's murder, even if she regretted it afterwards. Then there is the fact that that Gypsy's boyfriend Nick, who was the one who actually did the deed, was a person on the Autism spectrum, which personally affected my viewing of the events. Altogether, I will say that Mommy Dead and Dearest is a very intriguing true crime doc, even though you'll probably feel icky afterwards.

8 / 10 stars


Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).