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Monday, June 04, 2012

SIFF Sighting: ETHEL (Documentary, USA)

Everyone knows about JFK; most people also remember his brother, RFK, but what about Robert's widow, Ethel?

Ethel Skakel married Robert Kennedy when she was just 22, and together they produced 11 children. Their love was true, and as she tells it, happened at first sight.

In this amazingly intimate documentary by Ethel's youngest child Rory, Ethel herself—along with many of her children—tells the audience about her years on this earth from start to finish.

From her idyllic childhood in a (strictly Republican) Irish Catholic household to her absolute love for her husband and his service to America, to raising 11 children mostly on her own, Ethel has lived quite a life.

The stories her children tell here are nothing short of hilarious (she once brought home a seal to have as a pet; she once stole horses from a neighboring property to feed them). Her spunk, her smile and her spirit even now shine bright and are presented beautifully here in this funny yet moving portrait.

The Kennedy men will always be remembered for their contributions to our society. This film reminds us that the women in their lives had a lot to do with their efforts.

ETHEL screened at the 38th Annual Seattle International Film Festival.

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