In this personal, emotional documentary, a young American (Rocky Braat) exorcises his personal family issues and seeks fulfilment by going to India, eventually working at a home near Chennai in South India for HIV-positive children and their mothers.
His best friend, filmmaker Steve Hoover, is initially skeptical about Braat’s mission, but when he comes to India and sees the role his friend has taken on as the protective big brother to a gang of adoring children, the filmmaker becomes a convert, and you probably will as well.
Whatever doubts you may feel toward this self-involved American, slinging out pizza to the poor Indian kids, there’s little doubt that Braat’s devotion and lack of fear of the children is a huge lift to their emotional and physical well-being. He’s also no charity tourist, as he shows when he decides to marry a local woman and face down the local villagers’ fears about an AIDS home in their neighbourhood.
No doubt, Blood Brother is narrowly focused on Braat’s needs and evolution, but in contrast to social-issue films filled with talking-head experts and bullet-point graphs, this is a portrait of a caregiver that goes to the core of motivation – in this case, the need to share love.