What if one day you woke up and realized you really didn’t know who you were, as in you didn’t know your real name, your birthday or how old you just might be – how would you feel? Would you want answers to these questions and more? Well Director Ursula Macfarlane takes on just this exact question with her documentary “The Lost Sons” which is one of the incredible selection of documentaries showing at the SXSW Film Festival.
The documentary focuses on Paul Joseph Fronczak, who grew up as he puts it “in a great family” and had a wonderful childhood until on his 10th birthday as he is searching secretly for his presents and finds newspapers articles of his mom and dad on the front page – with the headlines “BABY HUNT DRAGS ON IN CITY.” As he reads through the various articles, about a baby being kidnapped straight out of his hospital crib one day after he was born, he realizes he just might be that kidnapped baby…or is he. His mother Dora and father Chester, push the narrative that he is their kidnapped son and that is that. For a while at least.
This journey is probably one of the most remarkable things to follow as it has more twists and turn than most feature thrillers and as incredible as it is, it’s all true. Paul was “found” 15 months later in Newark, New Jersey where a foster family named him Scott, until of course the FBI supposedly puts two and two together and decide he might be the kidnapped baby Paul from Chicago. Turns out he is neither Scott nor Paul – but he IS Jack, and that is the trail we follow along with. How Paul, through Ancestry test, finds out who he is really is and who his family really was. It’s a absolute mind-bender of a journey that will at some points make you laugh, cry and shock you to your core.
Much has been written about this and back when the story was first recognized for what it was that happened, it was all over every news channel around the world. People reached out that had been neighbors, friends of the family and even a babysitter. While they try to fill in some of the blanks, it seems some will just never be filled or known. There is a price to pay for finding out though and Paul pays dearly throughout his life in various ways from losing contact with his family, to a divorce to finding himself and realizing he has always been searching for something and probably always will be.
Review Screening courtesy of SXSW Film Festival and DDA PR