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You’re Killing My Son: The Mum Who Went on the Run

You’re Killing My Son: The Mum Who Went on the Run

Tue Aug 13, 9-10pm, C4

By Adam Lee Davies
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When seven-year-old Neon Roberts was diagnosed with a brain tumour, his mother Sally decided that – despite much urgent advice – conventional medicine was the last thing he needed and so sprung him from hospital, whisked him off to a holistic treatment centre and into the middle of a tabloid storm. Found safe and sound by the police four days later, Neon was put into the care of his father whilst the battle for the right to decide his medical future played out in the courts and across the media.

Director Sarah Burkeman’s intimate film takes great pains not to paint Sally – a blonde Australian who’s a dead-ringer for Nicole Kidman in ‘extreme nervous tension’ mode – as a crackpot, but scenes of her waffling with healers and buying a cornucopia of medically-suspect electronic gizmos (in order to combat the evil rays emanating from her normal everyday electronic gizmos) are unlikely to convince many of her cause.

The intimate approach, however, means that some larger issues are skirted over. The film would surely have benefitted from some input from the medical legal-eagles who have presided over the decisions that inform young Neon’s ongoing battle. Instead of the big picture we are offered a family snapshot, but it is a treasured one.
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