New to Netflix from today is the docu-film, Our Father. The movie – directed by Lucie Jourdan – follows the real-life story of a group of strangers in Indianapolis, who share a disturbing connection.
The connection is Dr. Donald Cline – a devote Christian and fertility doctor who helped a vast amount people conceive during the 1970s and 1980s. However, while Cline was very successful in his field, and was responsible for overseeing many pregnancies, he harboured a dark secret that touched the lives of multiple families.
Patients that underwent fertility treatment in his care were told they would receive sperm from an anonymous donor. The donor would be a medical resident that would donate a maximum of three times in total, to ensure that very few families would conceive children from the same person.
But in reality, each specimen came from Dr. Cline himself – a fact he kept secret from every patient. Maintaining this secret, he fathered close to 100 children, many of whom lived in close proximity to each other.
Our Father takes a look at this mind-boggling and deeply disturbing case, unravelling the truth behind Cline’s actions. The film talks largely from the perspective of the children he fathered, exploring their journey to uncover the truth behind their existence.
Our Father is pieced together with talking headshots, but also includes some footage which recreates scenes from the past. The docu-film includes input from Cline’s former friends and colleagues, as well as the reporter who helped expose the story.
At the heart of the film is a tale about wicked deception, and the lives impacted by the actions of one man. However, there is also a wider story in play, which looks at societal failures, which allow situations like this to take place.
Fascinating, engrossing, but terribly unnerving, Our Father is a docu-film with a sinister edge. It is a film which tells an important story, but one guaranteed to leave the audience feeling unnerved.
And unnerved is probably the best way to describe Our Father, because both the subject matter and the way this docu-film is presented will cause a few hairs to raise on the back of your neck. There is a sinister side to Cline’s actions (which borders on X-Files territory), and filmmaker Lucie Jourdan ensures the tone of this film matches up with this perfectly.
Jourdan uses lighting and sound to set the mood and shape the backdrop to the film, while allowing the story to speak for itself. The aim is to bring the horror to the forefront, with a little help through the presentation and staging, and everything comes together rather well.
I feel somewhat uneasy saying this docu-film is something you should check out, simply because I would rather the events surrounding Cline didn’t happen in the first place. However, I believe the story here is covered in a significant amount of depth to ensure this isn’t just a piece of Netflix entertainment, and will leave you feeling informed.
Our Father is an important film for bringing this case to a wider audience and it is brought to the screen with care and attention. The film features plenty of input from victims, as well as those connected to the story, to help bring everything together, and if you are curious about it in any way, I suggest you take a look.