Following Sean

In 1969, director Ralph Arlyck filmed an intimate conversation with 4-year-old Sean Farrell -- the son of free-spirited parents living in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district -- who talked openly about smoking pot and living with drug addicts. Thirty years later, Arlyck returns to San Francisco to find out what became of Sean and his family -- and in the process, reflects on his own strange journey that cuts across generations and cultures.
Netflix Rating: 3.4
NYT Review
Ralph Arlyck's ruminative essay film picks up the trail of Sean Farrell, the former child of San Francisco hippies and the subject of his celebrated 1969 short film "Sean." Read the review
Rotten Tomatoes® Scores
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What emerges from Arlyck's musings is a penetrating cinematic essay on how generations in the last century struggled to take hold of history and reconfigure the shape of daily life.
Gene Seymour, Newsday  full review
Arlyck spends more time following himself and his own lefty family than checking up on Sean.
V.A. Musetto, New York Post
Ralph Arlyck's ruminative essay film picks up the trail of Sean Farrell, the former child of San Francisco hippies and the subject of his 1969 short film Sean.
Nathan Lee, New York Times
Arlyck's compulsion is to our great fortune. Patient and elegant, his film is a quietly devastating meditation on family, work, and the unrelenting passage of time.
Drew Tillman, Village Voice  full review
Arlyck's new film is an honest and thoughtful examination of the people and events that most influenced his adult life and what the '60s really meant to the bigger picture, viewed with the benefit of hindsight.
Janice Page, Boston Globe  full review
Character-driven and full of tender contradictions, the film is reminiscent of a Chekhov short story. And as such, it touches on a universality that transcends VW buses and Bush-era politics.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution  full review
As fascinating as it is frustrating, docu raises a raft of nicely unresolved questions about parenting and parentage.
Ronnie Scheib, Variety  full review
At its exhilarating best, Following Sean is reminiscent of the lauded British documentaries that began with 7 Up and continued to follow a cross-section of 7-year-olds into adulthood to see how they turned out.
Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle  full review
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  • Release Year: 2006
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Runtime: 88 min
  • Available From: Dec 20, 2008
  • Queued by: 160 people
Ralph Arlyck, Sean Farrell

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