Bob Stern, one of the pioneers of solar energy, treated everything in life like a business deal. Cost versus benefits played into his every move. Nobody would take advantage of him, either, and he was always right. When he receives some bad medical news, Stern weighs the difference in having an operation or killing himself, and he documents his thought process for his children to see.
“The Self-Made Man” isn’t fiction. It’s a documentary made by Stern’s daughter, Susan. It is painful, funny and — most importantly — contributes to the debate on whether or not people have a “right” to die by their own choice. Susan Stern lets her father’s life and video footage speak for itself, and she talks to family members, friends and the local sheriff about her father’s wishes. There is no final answer found here, but the film is a valuable addition to the issue.
Documentaries are powerful tools, and this is film is no exception. It talks about the very thing most people don’t want to even think about, let alone discuss. If you have any feelings on this issue, you need to see this film. It’s one of the best on the subject simply because it is the most human.