User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 49 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 49
  2. Negative: 4 out of 49
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  1. May 31, 2011
    10
    Few films could posses this much content to make you so angry, then show you how you can put a stop to it. Kurt Keunne tells a daring, personal story about a family. At first, it has nothing to do with you, but by the end, it will be your business.
  2. Jun 18, 2012
    8
    This piece of documentary is the most mind-blowing true-crime movie I have ever watched. It promotes not only the love in the family but also ones who're out there and truly love you for being you. This film shows how the devil like Sheril Turner still exists in the community and able to live with the normal people or the kindest people like Dave and Kate due to the rubbishness l of theThis piece of documentary is the most mind-blowing true-crime movie I have ever watched. It promotes not only the love in the family but also ones who're out there and truly love you for being you. This film shows how the devil like Sheril Turner still exists in the community and able to live with the normal people or the kindest people like Dave and Kate due to the rubbishness l of the legal system and public authorities in New Foundland.
    (Heartbreaking, Deavastating emotional impact, Gut-wrenching, Mind revolution)
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  3. LauraM
    Nov 7, 2008
    5
    I didn't enjoy the style of the movie. I did, however, think that the black eye given to the Canadian government on the handling of this case was well-deserved.
  4. DylanL
    Jul 25, 2009
    2
    The story here needed to be told: it is tragic and saddening. The storytelling is simply the worst I have experienced in years. Why this guy thought he had to create this pathetic atmosphere with the editing and music and the questions he asked is beyond comprehension. At moments where the story is genuinely shocking and you need some time to reflect on the enormity of what has happened The story here needed to be told: it is tragic and saddening. The storytelling is simply the worst I have experienced in years. Why this guy thought he had to create this pathetic atmosphere with the editing and music and the questions he asked is beyond comprehension. At moments where the story is genuinely shocking and you need some time to reflect on the enormity of what has happened this director is making a collage of soppy pictures in embarrassing sequence with terrible fake music and at one point trying to make his crap editing evoke rage when everyone needs a moment to take in something quite incredibly shocking. A very important story, ruined. Read the book by the Mr Bagsby instead. Expand
  5. Dan
    Nov 2, 2008
    3
    This is a terrible movie about an amazing true life story. Bad editing, heavy handed story telling and sappy. I'm actually embarrassed for all the parties, except for one.
  6. LeoP
    Aug 2, 2009
    10
    It's like riding an emotional roller coaster with a bomb strapped to your chest.Then the bomb explodes.
  7. JayH
    Feb 19, 2009
    9
    It is impossible not to be moved by this documentary. It's very well edited and the footage used is outstanding. Thorough and detailed. An incredible story that you will not soon forget.
  8. LyleS.
    Apr 6, 2009
    10
    Amazing!. The story is compelling, the characters interesting and developed, the editing and story telling unique. I'm surprised about any doubt to this movies majesty - the intensity of the editing matches the rage of the story. A must see!
  9. RandyP
    Apr 7, 2009
    10
    The less you know going in to this documentary, the more the impact. I was completely unaware of this story and was stunned at the turns it took. A very good watch!
  10. ChristineZ
    Dec 11, 2008
    10
    Emotionally exhausting.
  11. BrandenR
    Dec 8, 2008
    6
    People were going crazy over this movie. If this movie was just about Zachary. It would have worked. It just a horrendous way of film making. The overly dramatic music, the overlapping voices, talking head after talking head, the manic editing. It was tragic subject inside an awful filmmaker.
  12. EmilyS
    Jul 30, 2009
    10
    I am a docu buff and have lately been on a roll, watching all of Metacritic's highest rated documentaries (its taking a while!) This film is truly exceptional. In my opinion, though the editing style is unusual, I believe it fits the film perfectly--an emotional style for a movie that cries from the heart. Its one of the better-made documentaries that I've seen. Julie P is I am a docu buff and have lately been on a roll, watching all of Metacritic's highest rated documentaries (its taking a while!) This film is truly exceptional. In my opinion, though the editing style is unusual, I believe it fits the film perfectly--an emotional style for a movie that cries from the heart. Its one of the better-made documentaries that I've seen. Julie P is absolutely right in that after I saw this film, I cried on and off all night...I felt as though I couldn't have any fun because it was all so horrible. This is completely unusual for me--I'm not generally a crier, and I usually like sad emotional movies. If you dislike all films with sad endings, skip this one. However, everyone else should see it. It will stay with you, for better or for worse. Expand
  13. SarahJ
    Dec 9, 2008
    9
    Haunting movie that I could not stop talking about and urging others to view.
  14. JulieP
    Jul 19, 2009
    10
    I have never seen anything like this documentary. When it was over, I felt as though I'd been beaten with a heavy stick, and my body ached for fully two days. After a week of intermittent weeping, I've come to realize that this film has put me into a genuine state of mourning. I can't recommend it highly enough, but only to mature teens and adults who are willing and able I have never seen anything like this documentary. When it was over, I felt as though I'd been beaten with a heavy stick, and my body ached for fully two days. After a week of intermittent weeping, I've come to realize that this film has put me into a genuine state of mourning. I can't recommend it highly enough, but only to mature teens and adults who are willing and able to be plunged into a period of grief. Expand
  15. SamJ
    Nov 18, 2008
    10
    Dan, you are a complete asshole. This is one of the greatest documentaries ever made!!! SHATTERING!!!!
  16. Apr 25, 2012
    10
    A very engrossing, spine tingling film. It's definitely not an easy watch, as the film changes gear more than most professional race car drivers, but to that point, it may be just as thrilling. To add to that, the subject matter is unsettling. However, Keunne captures a nearly unbelievable story in a way that makes it nearly impossible to look away. It can be a bit too much to handle atA very engrossing, spine tingling film. It's definitely not an easy watch, as the film changes gear more than most professional race car drivers, but to that point, it may be just as thrilling. To add to that, the subject matter is unsettling. However, Keunne captures a nearly unbelievable story in a way that makes it nearly impossible to look away. It can be a bit too much to handle at times, and by the end of the film you will be emotionally exasperated, but maybe Keunne made the film this way so that viewers would feel the pain of the tumultuous story vicariously through his storytelling. It won't appeal to all, but those who can get everything out of it that was put into it will be thinking about it for some time to come. Expand
  17. Sep 23, 2013
    6
    Obvious spoiler warning.

    The story that this documentary is based on deserves to be told and that Kuenne wanted to create a tribute to his friend is a touching idea. Unfortunately, he didn't do as good a job with it as he could have, simply because of his editing and the way he told the story. The source material is great and he has plenty of it, but instead of letting all the people he
    Obvious spoiler warning.

    The story that this documentary is based on deserves to be told and that Kuenne wanted to create a tribute to his friend is a touching idea. Unfortunately, he didn't do as good a job with it as he could have, simply because of his editing and the way he told the story. The source material is great and he has plenty of it, but instead of letting all the people he interviewed and all the documents tell this sad and infuriating story, Kuenne apparently felt the need to "enhance" his documentary with an annoying amount of effects and often frantic editing. Gut punches like the cut from the news about Zachary's disappearance to the report about his death (easily the most shocking moment of the documentary) are completely ruined by this decision. The worst part were the childish Monty-Pythonesque scenes that showed an image of whoever was quoted with a comical CGI mouth and the endless repetitions near the end, just in case the viewer didn't get the point during the first dozen times.

    This should have been the masterpiece it deserved to be, but I guess that Kuenne couldn't control his emotions while putting the documentary together.
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  18. Dec 29, 2012
    9
    What starts as tragic story of an extraordinary young man being murdered, begins to takes unimaginable twists and turns leaving the viewer in disbelief. In 2001, Andrew Bagby, a medical resident, is murdered by his ex-girlfriend in Lancaster, PA. Shortly after her arrest she announces she's pregnant with Andrew's child. Kurt Kuenne, one of Andrews friends, begins a cross country trip toWhat starts as tragic story of an extraordinary young man being murdered, begins to takes unimaginable twists and turns leaving the viewer in disbelief. In 2001, Andrew Bagby, a medical resident, is murdered by his ex-girlfriend in Lancaster, PA. Shortly after her arrest she announces she's pregnant with Andrew's child. Kurt Kuenne, one of Andrews friends, begins a cross country trip to make a film for Zachary, a father he will never know. Running parallel to this devastating story is the remarkable family and friends of the victim, displaying relentless perseverance keeping Andrews spirit alive and how he touched so many lives around the world. Andrew's devastated parents uproot their entire lives and relocate to Canada in order to fight for the future of their newborn grandson. During this time, the Canadian government freed Turner (ex-girlfriend) on bail as she awaited extradition to the United States. As a result, a tragic story of loss evolves into the unimaginable. Despite this painful story of loss, it is the awe-inspiring people that make this documentary so poignant and unforgettable. Expand
  19. Jan 15, 2014
    10
    This movie...it should come with a warning. What can I say? I was deeply moved by this film but at the same time I was extremely disturbed. I have never before written a review for a movie, but even 3 hours after finishing this documentary...I cant move on. I cried like I have never cried before. And this film made me feel things that i have never experienced with a movie. I felt mentally,This movie...it should come with a warning. What can I say? I was deeply moved by this film but at the same time I was extremely disturbed. I have never before written a review for a movie, but even 3 hours after finishing this documentary...I cant move on. I cried like I have never cried before. And this film made me feel things that i have never experienced with a movie. I felt mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted after completing it. With all of this being said, it is just absolutely spectacular. It will change you, at least for the rest of your day. I have a feeling I wont be the same for the rest of the week....at least. THE SADDEST AND MOST MOVING FILMS I HAVE EVER SEEN. Expand
  20. Mar 16, 2015
    10
    David Bagby and Kathleen Bagby lost both they son and they own grandchild and I can feel they pain and it's amazing how much they hold strong during tough and difficult times. God bless you Kathleen and David, stay strong.

    Dear Zachary is about a filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son. I've seen many
    David Bagby and Kathleen Bagby lost both they son and they own grandchild and I can feel they pain and it's amazing how much they hold strong during tough and difficult times. God bless you Kathleen and David, stay strong.

    Dear Zachary is about a filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

    I've seen many Documentary's in the past that can make me tear up or get me shocked, well not like this one that actually got to me deep inside. To those who think I'm spoiling the whole Documentary well all this did happen and thanks to the world wide web if you even search this up it would already be spoiled for you, even at the start of this review I already spoiled it.

    Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father is a heartbreaking and a truly outstandingly documentary that I got to warn you it's not a easy watch sometimes, because this has to be the most depressing Documentary I ever come across. These never like a full happy moment, just a tragic one to get your head around. Now will recommend this and the answer is yes and no as well, just like I said early it's not a easy watch and some people like the happy go lucky stories with a happy ending, but to those who can handle this kind of story then go ahead because it's worth a watch. It's a powerful Documentary.
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Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    50
    The way Kuenne presents the material, with an aggressive style that lingers less than a second on most shots, it's impossible not to feel emotionally exhausted.
  2. Reviewed by: Martin Tsai
    80
    Kuenne lovingly assembles home-movie footage and new interviews, while deftly borrowing a narrative trick from fiction--the plot twist--to create a true-crime story so gripping, devastating, and ultimately unforgettable that it easily trumps any thriller Hollywood has to offer this year.
  3. The facts are so awful that Dear Zacharycan be forgiven much of its antsiness--as a memorial, as a condolence to Bagby’s parents (who became activists for judicial reform in their late son's honor), and as a howl of grief.