Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter

A film by Deborah Hoffmann

1994 | 44 minutes | Color | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 99297


With profound insight and a healthy dose of levity, COMPLAINTS OF A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER chronicles the various stages of a mother's Alzheimer's Disease and the evolution of a daughter's response to the illness. The desire to cure the incurable-to set right her mother's confusion and forgetfulness, to temper her mother's obsessiveness-gives way to an acceptance which is finally liberating for both daughter and mother. Neither depressing nor medical, COMPLAINTS OF A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER is much more than a story about Alzheimer's and family caregiving. It is ultimately a life-affirming exploration of family relations, aging and change, the meaning of memory, and love.


"This is the best film about Alzheimer's disease that I've seen, and I've seen quite a few...I too would have nominated Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter for one of the year's best documentaries."

Gene Siskel Chicago Tribune

"Unflinchingly honest...a film that will give hope to Alzheimer's caregivers as well as early-stage Alzheimer's patients."

Marcia Freedman American Society on Aging

"Hoffmann has made a loving, optimistic and authentic film about her mother, and the struggles to adjust to the changes wrought by Alzheimer's disease"

William Fisher Alzheimer's Association, Greater San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.


  • Peabody Award, 1995
  • Academy Award Nominated
  • Berlin Film Festival
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Emmy Award, Outstanding News Documentary Program
  • HeSCA Media Award, First Prize
  • National Council on Family Relations, First Prize (Aging)
  • International Health and Medical Film Festival, Coping Award
  • Columbus Film and Video Festival, Chris Award for Best Health & Medical Film
  • Columbus Film and Video Festival, Christopher Columbus Award for Most Creative of Festival
  • International Federation of Aging, First Prize Media Festival
  • Chicago Film Festival, Silver Plaque (Social/Political Documentary)
  • Cinema du Reel, Paris


Deborah Hoffmann

Deborah has worked for over 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area as a film and video editor, editing numerous internationally acclaimed documentaries on a wide range of sensitive and challenging topics. For editing The Times of Harvey Milk she received a National Emmy and the film received an Academy Award. Marlon Riggs’ video Color Adjustment, which she edited, received a Peabody and an International Documentary Association Award. She also edited Marlon Riggs‚ Ethnic Notions and the Frontline program Men Who Molest, which both received National Emmys, Straight From the Heart which was an Academy Award nominee, and was an editor of Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt another Academy Award winner. Deborah also edited Mulholland’s Dream, the opening show of the PBS series, Cadillac Desert., and Jon Else's Sing Faster winner of the Filmmaker’s Trophy Award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival
In 1994 Deborah chronicled her caregiving experiences with her mother's worsening Alzheimer’s Disease. The resulting film, Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter, received over 30 international awards, including an Academy Award nomination, an Emmy Award, a Peabody, and a duPont-Columbia Award. Complaints aired nationally on PBS in June 1995, and received rave reviews from virtually every major paper in the country.

In 2000 Deborah and her partner Frances Reid completed the Academy Award nominated feature documentary Long Night's Journey into Day: South Africa's Search for Truth and Reconciliation.
Deborah is a lecturer at the UC Berkeley Journalism School. She has served on juries for the Sundance, San Francisco and Mill Valley Film Festivals and on the Independent Spirit, and Gotham Awards. She is on the board of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. (3/19)


Shopping Cart