A Nuclear Family

2013 ,    »  -   9 Comments
Ratings: 8.78/10 from 18 users.

In 1973, a woman walked out on her husband and children. Filmmaker Ian Hawkins was one of those children.

A Nuclear Family is the poignant story of an ordinary family dealing with divorce.

It's also the story of an independent filmmaker turning interviews, memories and old family photographs into a deeply moving and thought-provoking film.

Out of nine people in Ian's family, only four agreed to take part. Even those who did take part were deeply uncomfortable with the project.

Re-counting painful memories on camera is daunting. The project was not welcomed by anyone and, at the time of writing, only one family member has watched the film.

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9 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Mike Porter

    Thank you for sharing your story. Life can be quite a can of worms.
    All the best.

  2. Chrissie

    Wow! What an amazing portrayal of a nuclear family. I am at the stage of halfway through what this documentary has described.. I am a mother, with children from 2 different fathers. We are currenty immersed in the court process and after watching this sensitive portrayal of the repercussions that an adults choices can have on a child, I am humbled. My children are my world and watching this beautifully sensitive documentary, I now know where my responsibilities lie.. Thankyou xx

  3. OldVandal

    Well done. Having been there, the lesson I learned was not to believe that insane situations are sane. Thank you.

  4. rocketmahn

    Maybe Jimmy is gay and had to separate himself from the lives of his family to begin his own life? I've seen it done before. Wonderful film.

  5. Christopher J.Churchill

    Ian Hawkins you are a very brave Man, you should feel proud of opening your own tin boxes even if nobody else wanted to. I also come from a "nuclear family" and found the doc a both heartwaring ad heart breaking peice of art :D, I'm finding you on G+ now!!!

  6. Gertrude van Voorden

    As a family, me, the mother, single parent, 4 children not the same father, we too did not make it in the end. The past was a different time. The womens movement allowed for having children in different ways, artificial insemination f.i. Marriage and stable relationships were almost outmoded. But what finally got us, was the man who sired my youngest, did not want to be his father at the time, did not want any responsibilities, give any help. He wanted to visit once every 3 or 6 months. It felt like watching monkies in the zoo. I read a lot of books, who all advised me that such a situation would be bad for the child, so i terminated the contact. Always thinking i would introduce my son, when he would be an adult, able to cope with it all. Always thinking the new family of that man and my family would meet each other respectfully and it would be clear as to which family my son belonged. The man came back at a time i was totally destroyed by yet another failed relationship. I told him to wait until i had some healing. He did not, send an email to my son behind my back, arranged meetings behind my back etc. I still tried to make amends. Had meetings with the man and tried to set some boundaries. Always feeling this man had a hidden agenda. And i was right for many years he had fantasized about how he would add my son to his family, Only with me he wanted no contact. All that i had invested after a terrible abusive childhood, surviving an abortionattempt as an unwanted 5th child, and a murderattempt by my father when 12, to transform all this generational hurt in my bloodline fell to pieces. My grandchildren would again have to suffer split, fragmented realities where adults were not capable of normal healthy functional family communication. I would have to look forward to a future where i might have to stand by and be witness of having my son choose that family of a man who did not want to be his father, over the family i had created. With already complex ptsd from my own childhood, i could not and withdrew from the contact of my youngest, most beloved son. And then over that my oldest son made the decision not to want to explain the situation to his children, so i lost him too. And like Freda says, it probably will stay that way. I am a grandmother of 3, from my oldest son, so i do not see them anymore. I am still trying to heal from the original ptsd and the choice i have made, makes it manageable and even sometimes i feel some tranquillity. The ideas we were fed with the sexual revolution and afterwards through the women's movement, have made a bloody mess of it all. But then again, having had a mother, who at 93 denied me to visit her, to attend her funeral, i am also aware, that is mess was a long time in the making. So possibly humanity is still learning and we are only halfway at becoming more conscious living people, making healthy choices for ourselves and our descendants. Maybe the next generation or the next will get it. A relationship between 2 partners, having children, should result in a legally binding contract, a marriage, where both decide to see it through until the children can take care of themselves. Therapy if necessary, but never adultery. That is what my father did and why my mother tried 3 times to kill herself when i was one year old, that is why i could never trust any man to stay, as a husband, as a partner. And worse still, that is why just in the last weeks, a father murdered his 2 little boys of 9 and 7, then killed himself. It took 2 weeks to find the boys, dead in the ditch on the 19th of may 2013. Just like in the movie the divorce was brutal, parents could not come to a mutual understanding, while coparenting. Childprotectionservices had decided to limit the contact between father and sons, to take away his coparenting and then he took it all away.

  7. lisa renee

    Very well done.

  8. Jenni

    Ian has taken many of us back down roads we probably thought our footprints had long ago been trampled into non-existence from. None of us from fractured families probably ever feel that fracture mend. I never have been able to understand the need for someone having to wear the black hat, no one truly behaves as the hero in these families. But there is a little bit of solace in knowing that even the Jones' and the Smiths had a skelton or two in the back of the closet, every family has some disfunction, someone or several someones will be a cog in the smooth turn of a family wheel. Well done, Ian. Every couple marrying should have this doc as required viewing, because in the end, it isn't going to very often be about just two people with a plan.

  9. Ruby

    Very poignant film. I felt sorry for the mother, you could tell she struggles with guilt.

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