What Viewers are saying
The response to the film has been overwhelming. People from all over the world and from all walks of life have taken the time to write me the most extraordinary emails. They are flattering, but they are also testimony that the film is doing what I hoped it would: inspire men and women to look at themselves and their family relationships in a new light.
Here are excerpts from some of them:
I just had my first child, a son, in November 2014, and have been stepping into fatherhood and manhood in the ways that you have so elegantly demonstrated in your film. I truly thank you for the vulnerability of your production. It allowed me to see myself through you and in an unexpected way work to heal the relationship I have with my own father, who is so very similar to yours…Your film has beautifully held space and accelerated healing that would only be possible by directly confronting the experience in the same way you did…I’m truly thankful for your film…Many of us here in this time have been living this story…As fathers, you and I, and those like us, are the ones who will set a new precedent for fatherhood. One that our fathers and grandfathers were not capable of…I am not sure how your film will be perceived by the masses, but from someone who sees you and sees your voice so clearly, I believe this is one of the most emotional and impactful films I’ve ever experienced in my life.
I’ve just seen your movie and I am pleased to see that I am not alone on this planet to feel what you felt. I live in Switzerland and had the same needs to feel what it is to be a man at my 40’s…Tried to give to others the image I had of a man but it was not mine! Wish you all the best for you and your family!
I just finished watching My Own Man (on Netflix) and I just had to write you. I found it brilliant and touching. I could really relate to you and the way you deal with your feelings…I’m also very happy that you studied the “alpha male” mindset and character. I think that I tend to feel weird around many overconfident people, as if I’m not adequate to be in that social situation. I doubt myself a lot and being highly critical of my past actions I feel like it’s very hard to forgive myself for my failures.
I watched your doc “My Own Man”. I appreciate your candid representation of your public and private reflections on your path to clarity. I, too, had confusions about who I should be. I played football and hockey, yet sang in the choir and wrote poetry. I taught elementary school for nearly twenty years with my wife as the “breadwinner”. Like you, it took years of honest reflection to set my ego aside, eschew stereotype, and embrace the me within myself. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you have found your “clear horizon” (Hitchcock) for you’ve helped me to affirm my own.
I’d really truly like to thank you for making this film! Growing up my father passed and certain circumstances keep me from knowing him too well anyways. So growing up I had my mother and her female rights group friends as my mentors, which lead me to have the same issue as you about not truly feeling comfortable around men which has had its challenges and I used my father as excuse for holding me back in life, which I have come to realize after watching this film that I shouldn’t be holding the only memory’s I have of him as bad…So all in all this movie really touched me and helped me come to terms with things so I personally wanted to thank you and please keep making amazing documentaries.
Thank you for creating such a personal, vulnerable, visceral and heart warming journey and for sharing that journey with the world. Such a thought provoking experience… I want to express gratitude for you challenging me to think of my own shortcomings and to take responsibility instead of projecting inadequacy onto other people in my life…I am a new father and am constantly trying to become the best man I can be for my son…Thank you for your courage and sharing your wisdom with me. I will do my best to encourage other fathers to view this film and find similar inspiration.
I just finished watching your movie. I have to say that it was amazing and truly opened my mind. Even though I am a woman, I had a lot of the same issues and still have with my father. He is very old fashioned and being a girl with an older brother, I was never expected to do anything great. Even though in my eyes, I felt I had to become a success to make him proud and have him finally accept me for who I am. I always felt second best to my brother who was the golden child and did everything my dad did growing up…I still feel the need to become something amazing for my dad, not me, my dad. After watching your movie..I realized too that I was judging him and blaming him for what I’ve become and what I don’t like about myself…I want a relationship with my dad and I love him but I hold a huge grudge over him for what I see wrong and what he sees as normal.. Anyway I just want to say thank you for this movie, although it wasn’t for me it taught me a lot of things. I hope to be a director/ producer at the peak of my career, and hopefully I can make something like this and help others like you just helped me.
Just saw your film My Own Man. I loved it. I liked it because I can relate to it, all my life I have felt not enough masculine, and of course the point of comparison and source of this feeling is my father, as I believe always is in these cases. I’ve always looked up to my father and try to emulate him, almost always failing, because I’m so different from him…That final cathartic moment…represented what I’ve been thinking for a long time now, the kind of peace and (re)connection I’d like to make with my dad, by taking responsibility for myself, whether he likes it (and me) or not, or whether he admits his mistakes. Because in the end, I think we do that not because it is the masculine thing to do, but because it’s the human thing to do…I still haven’t had that cathartic moment with my father, I’m younger than you, still not planning to have children (but I’d like to some day) but I already worry if I’d be suited for the task or not. So that moment will have to come, and I thank you a lot, because your movie and your story made all this clear to me, and clear what is to come.
I’ve just finished watching your documentary, and I’m in tears. The relationship that you had with your father is identical to the relationship that I have with my own father…Your documentary has opened my eyes to how I need to make peace with my own father, how I need to take responsibility for my failures and shortcomings instead of blaming them on him.
Last evening I stumbled upon your documentary. I wish I could unpack all the reasons I loved it — but I think I need to watch it again and reflect more deeply on why and how it touched me so. Thank you for sharing your journey of discovery, relationship, and reconciliation. The documentary intersected with numerous themes in my life. I’m a 63 year old conservative, evangelical, pastor’s wife, grandmother, and homeschooler! Probably not the kind of audience you had in mind when you made your documentary. But that is the genius of good art. Good storytelling allows others to hear, relate and take away truth. You blessed me with your story. I will also recommend it to my kids and to people in my congregation. As I tell my husband after he preaches an awesome sermon, “You hit it out of the park today!” So have you, David.
GOOD GOD. This is one of the best, most personal and most emotional documentaries I’ve ever seen. Why do I think so? Well… I am a man myself and while I sometimes question my own full masculinity I am generally very manly (on the outside and inside). I also have and have always had a great relationship with my dad (no real aggression etc.). I also almost never cry when watching movies. I have cried on maybe two occasions (one of which was when I was about 7) and I watch A LOT of movies. But on this one… Well, I cried like crazy! It was surprising for me, actually as this as I said never happens. But there is something primal about the relationship a boy has with his father that just hits an emotional nerve…I really appreciate the deeply personal nature you gave this documentary and I thank you for the emotional ride that I had when watching it.