Tell Them Who You Are (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

Tell Them Who You Are (2005)



Critic Consensus: The dysfunctional interaction between director and subject is fascinating, poignant, and revealing of both men and of father-son relationships in general.

Tell Them Who You Are Photos

Movie Info

Mark Wexler is a successful photojournalist who has also distinguished himself as a documentary filmmaker, but in many ways he has spent much of his life in the shadow of his more famous father, Haskell Wexler. One of Hollywood's greatest cinematographers, Haskell is also known as a director (he made the acclaimed feature Medium Cool as well as a handful of documentaries) and as a tireless political activist. But while Haskell is widely respected as a major talent, he's also known for being fiercely opinionated and difficult to work with, and Mark makes no secret of the fact that he's had a prickly relationship with his dad. Mark Wexler takes a detailed look at the life and work of Haskell Wexler in Tell Them Who You Are, which examines Haskell's career in the movie business, his relationship with his family (including his three marriages and his frequent lack of respect for Mark), and how he's viewed by his friends and peers. Interview subjects include Jane Fonda, Paul Newman, George Lucas, Michael Douglas, Milos Forman, Ron Howard, Dennis Hopper, and many more.


Critic Reviews for Tell Them Who You Are

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (26)

It works as a portrait of a father-son relationship that's awkward, volatile, uneven and always painfully real.

March 6, 2007 | Full Review…

With dad calling junior's filmmaking skills into question at every turn, this is a fascinating blend of fact and friction.

May 30, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

What we really get from son Mark's unusual take is a sterling movie about fathers (especially famous fathers) and offspring.

November 22, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4
Top Critic

[A] tremendously moving documentary.

October 13, 2005

A real gem of a film.

August 18, 2005 | Rating: 4/5

A vivid picture of a relationship that, like most, isn't quite picture-perfect.

July 8, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4

Audience Reviews for Tell Them Who You Are

For the record, I believe that family members should never be involved in recording the life stories of loved ones due to the combination of distance and past closeness which can lead to a skewed perspective and usually involves at least one person with an axe to grind or deep-seated issues. Case in point with the latter is the documentary "Tell Them Who You Are" wherein Mark Wexler attempts to document the career of his father, Haskell, the famed cinematographer. That's the case until Haskell hijacks the proceedings to make it more about him as a person, leaving whatever footage in which would normally be cut and vice versa, as Mark forgets that the first rule of the documentarian is to stay behind the camera as much as humanly possible. Admittedly, there is some great stuff here about "Medium Cool," with a neat anecdote about "Coming Home." And some of Haskell's lesser known movies like "Latino" and "Introduction to the Enemy" definitely sound intriguing. But getting back to those issues, the documentary seeks to portray Haskell as irascible and whose left wing politics which did not stop him from working with Elia Kazan stopped him from accomplishing much more in a career full of accomplishments.(At the age of 87, apparently he is still working.) Personally, any discussion of paternal issues by the participants only serve to make me feel well-adjusted which is quite the accomplishment. Look, I am not saying we should venerate all artists or gloss over their shortcomings. It's just that I don't care.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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