Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Harrowing and unforgettable film.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    The movie is a curiosity, of course. Both Marc and Kim have decidedly unusual life stories.
  3. 83
    Prodigal Sons comes packed with multiple hooks. Aside from the sex-change angle, the movie takes a turn when Marc---whom Reed’s parents adopted before she was born--learns that he’s the biological son of Rebecca Welles, and the grandchild of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth.
  4. A tale of two siblings -- one basking in memories, the other fleeing them -- Prodigal Sons grapples with identity through the prism of sibling rivalry. In the end its conclusions have little to do with gender and everything to do with acceptance.
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sad, compelling documentary leaves a few key questions frustratingly unanswered, but the raw materials here are sufficiently bracing.
  6. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Reed insists on pursuing difficult questions, and this is a film not easily forgotten.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    There’s still enough to chew on to recommend the movie, not least the oddly touching sight of two siblings whose very identities have been altered by surgery.
  8. Kimberly Reed’s debut documentary, Prodigal Sons, would make a terribly contrived novel, but is a compelling and sensational real-life story.
  9. Reviewed by: Stan Hall
    Even if Prodigal Sons is ultimately more buildup than payoff, Reed is a nimble enough filmmaker to roll with unexpected developments and make poignant connections between her family's unremarkable past and its extraordinary, wrenching present.
  10. Reviewed by: Ed Schied
    The unexpected directions in their family dynamics and unflinching scenes of the volatile Marc keep Prodigal Sons absorbing.
  11. Despite its undeniably fascinating elements, Prodigal Sons attempts to deal with so many issues at once that it inevitably lacks focus. But there's no denying that it offers a hook that other similarly themed docs could only envy.
  12. As with most fam-cam documentaries, dysfunction pushes the story along, tipping over into exploitation.
  13. Reviewed by: Kevin B. Lee
    Instead of pushing deeper into any psychological dilemmas, this dirty-laundry doc gets lost in a sensationalistic flurry driven by a serious emotional unraveling.

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