At age 49, Dr. Viviane Winthrop, a prison dentist, takes an Ancestry DNA test and discovers she is not who she believes herself to be. In THE LAST OF THE WINTHROPS, the only child of Claire and Reginald Winthrop, whose lineage can be traced back to the 1400s in Europe, Viviane now learns she has an entire other family.


Moving to Sedona, Arizona to be with her aging mother after she loses her job and her father has died, Viviane begins the journey of finding her roots. She travels across five countries and centuries of historical information, learning about her father’s heritage. Though they were not actually royalty, the Winthrops did, in fact, travel in those circles.


Most Winthrops were politicians or lawmakers who changed the world. It’s all very heady stuff for an only child who was unaware of the veracity of her lineage. Reginald, however, was an actor. He dreamed of going to Hollywood to become a big star. When those desires never materialized, he became depressed and an alcoholic. It was up to Claire to support their family by teaching piano.


Despite their lack of money, Viviane and her parents always “looked rich”. Her father dressed well and his shoes were always polished. And she was taught to be socially responsible, though she never felt she was good enough to be a Winthrop.


Claire, though reluctant to speak about her indiscretion on film, did eventually confess to being very sad and going to bed with Armand Perez, Viviane’s biological father. Perez was married three times and had two other daughters and three sons. It was one of his daughters, Liliane, who found Viviane.


Though Viviane’s story is not really that uncommon except for her extraordinary family background on the Winthrop side, THE LAST OF THE WINTHROPS is a beautiful documentary detailing a woman’s quest to learn the truth about herself. In the end, she becomes part of a large and very loving Jewish family in Montreal.


Written, directed and produced by Viviane Winthrop, her meaningful odyssey is made even more compelling by the exquisite score from composer Shie Rozow. Perhaps as an homage to Claire, the soothing piano music adds an immeasurable component to THE LAST OF THE WINTHROPS.


Opinion: Wait for VOD




THE LAST OF THE WINTHROPS is a documentary co-written and co-directed by Viviane Winthrop. Her distinguished Winthrop ancestors settled in America from Europe beginning in the 18th century. Viviane, meanwhile, moved from Montreal to Sedona, Arizona in the 1980s as a teenager with her family. She subsequently became a dentist who treated prisoners and others in underserved communities.


But an Ancestry DNA test revealed shocking news that would change her life forever, thus motivating her to make this film, her directorial debut at age forty-nine. The movie features a wonderful soundtrack, courtesy of composer Shie Rozow, and splendid cinematography as we accompany Viviane on her quest for the truth. Notably that truth is something that her mother, Claire, chose to keep secret from Viviane for nearly 50 years --- until now.


The biggest takeaway from THE LAST OF THE WINTHROPS is for viewers to imagine themselves in a similar position as Viviane. What if everything you thought you knew about your immediate family was not entirely factual? Viviane travels far and wide, including Paris and London, in search of her actual heritage.


Some might argue that this documentary is self-serving and/or self-indulgent on the part of Viviane, and therefore, would the average moviegoer be interested in her plight --- or even care? On the other hand, the film does present an unusual situation that could conceivably happen to anyone --- albeit a very rare circumstance.


Opinion:  Wait for VOD