A funny, poignant look at the "right-to-die" issue told through the story of the filmmaker's father.

Stimulating, moving and at times unnerving...It helps us think through our assumptions about suicide, illness and end-of-life issues. It's very well done. It's a good sign when I laugh, get teary and am left searching for better answers. 

Dr. Timothy E. Quill M.D., Director, Center for Palliative Care and Clinical Ethics University of Rochester School of Medicine
Synopsis: 

Is it ever rational to choose death? On Independence Day at Stern Ranch, 77-year-old solar energy pioneer Bob Stern finds out he's seriously ill - possibly dying. Meanwhile, an elderly in-law is dying on artificial life support. Bob decides to cheat that fate and take his own life. His family tries to stop him. Bob sets up a video camera. Daughter Susan Stern (Barbie Nation) explores "rational suicide," the "right-to-die" and the difficult end-of-life choices faced by an aging population.

Reviews

 The Self-Made Man is a tour de force. No other film documentary has ever captured the living trail of a man's decision to commit suicide in the context of his past, present, and future. Whatever your background and experience, world view, and beliefs, this film will provoke powerful reactions and compelling questions about the right to die. 

Donna Cohen, Professor, Department of Aging and Mental Health, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute University of South Florida

A remarkable job of presenting this emotionally-charged subject in a way that ultimately defuses the contentious social debate and refocuses on the wider issue of the choices left to people in the later years. 

Paul Kleyman Editor, Aging Today, American Society on Aging

 Uniquely instructive and illuminating...an admirable film that smartly tackles right-to-die issues that don't lend themselves to easy answers...highly recommended.  

J. Shannon, Video Librarian

 An honest and courageous look at a subject that some don't even believe exists: the rational suicide. I would highly recommend this film to those concerned with the issue of suicide and its effects on the family left behind. More broadly, it may be profitably viewed by anyone in the health care professions, especially those who care for elders. 

Guy Micco, MD Director, UC Berkeley Resource Center on Aging, Co-Director, UC Berkeley Center for Medicine, the Humanities, and Law

 An important -- indeed essential - film for understanding the role of autonomy in end-of-life choices. 

Margaret Pabst Battin, Distinguished professor of philosophy, adjunct professor of internal medicine, University of Utah