HotDocs ’23: Because We Have Each Other

Because We Have Each Other follows Janet Sharrock and Buddha Barnes as they and their five adult children come together to create a blended, neurodiverse family. Although they’re dealing with the same problems of life as everyone else, they way that they deal with the world is inspirational. 

Directed by Sari Braithewaite, Each Other is an utterly charming and intimate look inside the lives of the Barnes and Sharrock home. Although they remain average, working class people, this is a family that struggles on a daily basis with any number of the challenges that stem from neurodiversity. From an eternal memory to overwhelming anxiety, the Barnes and Sharrock clan have a number of issues that are part of their daily realities. Amazingly, Braithwaite has built up enough trust with the family that she never shies away from the most difficult of moments, allowing the viewer to experience the family at their best and their worst. (For example, a breakdown over a game of chess is particularly heart-breaking to watch.)

Despite their challenges, the Sharrock and Barnes are shown here to be entirely genuine. Their love for each other shines through in every moment of the film, even at times when they argue or disagree. his family remains entirely committed to one another. (“We’re always in the [crap], it’s just the depth that varies,” they remind us.)

Although the trials they face as individuals are unique, their ability to stick together in the midst of life’s everyday problems gives them the strength that they need to keep going. Parenting crises are more manageable. Financial burdens are stressful but more hopeful. For the Sharrock and Barnes family, what matters most is each other and it helps them work through the heaviest issues. 

Because We Have Each Other is now playing at Hot Docs ’23. For more information, click here.

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