A mother’s legacy


Documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy came on the show today to talk about her latest project, “Ethel.”

The film is a personal look at the life of her mother, Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy.

Initially, Rory, who was born sixth months after an assassin’s bullet took her father’s life, had been reluctant to turn the lens on her family. Her mother is publicity shy, and for the last quarter century has avoided doing interviews. But after rejecting requests to do a film, Rory decided to just ask her mother and “to my surprise she said yes.”

The result is a film that traces Ethel and Robert Kennedy’s lives alongside the pivotal events of the 1960s–from the civil rights movement to the fight for economic justice. ”I think one of the things that was extraordinary about my father and my mother, as well, is their ability to change over time,” said Kennedy. ”There was so much change for the country during the 1960s, and I think one of the reasons that people can identify with my father and mother is because they were evolving during that time, too.”

Since this is a film about the Kennedys, it is also a tale of tragedy and survival, detailing how Ethel Kennedy had to fight on and raise 11 children, after her husband was shot to death during his 1968 run for President.

The film premieres tonight on HBO.

A mother's legacy