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Documentary Review: “My Dead Dad” – Loss, Grief and Final Wishes.



My Dead Dad” offers a unique and deeply touching exploration of the father-daughter bond, wrapped in a journey that’s as unconventional as it is heartfelt. Directed by Erik Osterholm and Abby Ellis, this documentary short follows Olivia Grey as she embarks on a road trip to fulfil her father’s final wish – to transport his defleshed body to his high school science class.

What ensues is a tale that seamlessly weaves together elements of comedy, poignancy, and self-discovery.

The journey takes Olivia from the bustling streets of Washington DC to the serene shores of Martha’s Vineyard, with stops at cheap hotels and tourist attractions along the way.

As she navigates the road, Olivia grapples with the loss of her father while simultaneously searching for her own identity in a world without him. It’s a narrative that resonates deeply, capturing the universal experience of grief and the quest for belonging.

“Could you remind me what motivates you to undertake this journey?” Olivia’s brother, accompanying her on the trip, inquires at one point. Olivia’s reply encapsulates the essence of the unbreakable bond she shares with her father, even in his absence.

What sets “My Dead Dad” apart is its dark humour, which infuses the story with an unexpected charm. The concept of transporting a defleshed body may initially seem morbid, yet it’s handled with such sincerity and wit that it becomes strangely endearing.

Olivia shares candid reflections on her relationship with her father adding depth to the story, highlighting the unique bond they shared and how he continues to shape her life even in death.

Central to the documentary are Olivia’s memories of her father, Christopher Grey, a renowned architecture writer for the New York Times. Through old footage and anecdotes, we glimpse Christopher’s passion for his work and his unwavering support for Olivia’s aspirations. His request to have his bones used as a skeleton in his high school classroom speaks volumes about his quirky personality and his commitment to education.

Throughout the film, we witness the reactions of others to Olivia’s unconventional journey, from curiosity to disbelief. Yet amidst the scepticism, there’s a sense of admiration for her courage and determination to honour her father’s wishes.

A pivotal scene at the family dinner table underscores the emotional weight of Olivia’s mission, as loved ones share their thoughts on Christopher’s legacy and the significance of his final request.

As I watched “My Dead Dad,” I found myself reflecting on my own experiences with loss and how we honour the memories of those we’ve lost. The film’s raw honesty and genuine emotion left a lasting impact, prompting me to consider how and even if I have been able to fulfil my own loved ones’ final wishes.

My Dead Dad” is a captivating documentary that deftly navigates themes of loss, love, and identity. While its subject matter may be unconventional, its message is universal, reminding us of the enduring power of love and family bonds. It also reminds us of the importance of honouring the ones we hold dear.

I would give this documentary 4 out of 5 stars, as it’s both thought-provoking and deeply moving, offering viewers an unforgettable glimpse into one woman’s journey of self-discovery and remembrance.

Second on my list of addictions is Movies.. the only thing I could possibly love more is my Dearest Waakye lol. Nothing else does a better job of reminding me that ANYTHING is possible with the right amount of effort. I have great eye for details and flaws in scripts. Shallow scripts bore me. I am an avid reader. Your everyday Mr Nice guy. Always the last to speak in a room full of smart people. Half Human, half Martian but full MOVIE FREAK.

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