Jan 16, 2017

Documentary - One Man, Six Wives and 29 Children - 1999

First produced in 1999, One Man, Six Wives and 29 Children tells the revealing and surreal story of a practicing polygamist who lives with his large brood in the middle of a Utah desert. The filmmakers document the family's daily existence, and probe the controversial aspects of the fundamentalist Mormon faith which define their way of life.

At 51 years of age, Tom Green is the patriarch of the family. He left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints two decades earlier so he could indulge in multiple marriages, a practice which had long been forbidden by church officials. Green, who was convicted for his crimes in a court of law following the release of the film and released from prison on parole in 2007, comes across as a genial man who rationalizes his actions on the basis of impenetrable religious conviction.

His wives echo this sentiment. While they acknowledge the misgivings of the outside world, they feel their lifestyle reflects a sacred calling from God and one they've all aspired to from an early age. They don't view their shared husband as a pervert in any respect, and they all contend that they feel valued, supported and free to express their own individual personalities. The cameras fail to detect any semblance of jealousy or discord even when it's revealed that two of the wives are mother and daughter.

The children are home schooled, and some are the same age or older than one or more of their father's wives. This situation is further complicated when their father ponders taking a seventh wife who is also the romantic crush of one of his young sons.

During the course of the film, we gain insights into the family's bizarre living arrangements, sex lives, and the challenges of supporting such a large family on just over $36,000 a year. We also learn that Green and his family are not as unique as one may assume. At the time of the film's production, we are told there are more than 50,000 practitioners of illegal polygamy in the region.

Most viewers will likely greet the realities depicted in One Man, Six Wives and 29 Children with equal parts horror and fascination.

Directed by: Jane Treays


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