New documentary about 'Superman' Christopher Reeve reveals paralyzing accident resulted in closer relationships with his family

 January 25, 2024

The life of the late "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve obviously changed quite dramatically following his tragic paralyzation in 1995, but so too did his relationship with his children, according to Fox News.

Whereas he was initially aloof toward his children and highly competitive during family activities, he later became exceptionally close with them when all they could do was sit around and talk.

That was just one of many revelations in the new documentary that recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, "Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story," which details his life both before and after the accident that changed everything for him and his family and friends.

Left paralyzed after a horse riding accident

At the heart of the story of Christopher Reeve, who delivered arguably the most famous film portrayal of the comic book hero Superman, was the horrific accident he suffered in 1995 that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Reeve suffered a "devastating" spinal cord injury when he was thrown from his horse during an equestrian competition and landed on his head, breaking the top two vertebrae in his neck.

The accident left him wheelchair-bound and in need of constant care and support from his family until he died from an infection nearly 10 years later in 2004.

Grew closer to his children after the accident

Variety recently reported how Reeve's three adult children -- Matthew, Alexandra, and Will, who all feature prominently in the new documentary about their father -- spoke in the film about some of the dramatic changes that occurred after the 1995 accident, not just in terms of their lifestyle but also their personal relationships.

Reeve had not been unkind before the accident but was somewhat cold and impersonal and tended to display his affection for his children through competition, such as racing while skiing, but that clearly couldn't continue after he was paralyzed in a motorized wheelchair.

"Our love language was activity before," Alexandra recalled. "Suddenly, you’re spending time just hanging out in Dad’s office looking each other in the eye and talking for two hours."

"I think he was very conscious of that irony and the legacy of 'Superman' when people viewed his story and thought about him after the accident," she continued. "He talked about redefining what it is to be a hero … it’s an everyday person who survives despite overwhelming obstacles."

From movie superhero to real-life heroic figure

The Guardian reported that the "Super/Man" documentary includes footage from old home videos as well as interviews with his children and friends, with Reeve himself providing narration for some parts of the film via excerpts from the audiobook versions of his two autobiographies.

At one point, in discussing how his relationships with his family became closer after the accident, Reeve himself quipped, "I needed to break my neck to learn some of this stuff."

The film notes how the situation was initially quite bleak and dark for Reeve following his paralyzation, and he reportedly told his wife Dana -- who died less than two years after him from cancer in 2006 -- that he was ready to give up and "Maybe we should let me go," only for her to reply, "You’re still you and I love you."

In the decade that elapsed between his paralyzation and death, Reeve became something of a real-life superhero in terms of his activism in support of the disabled, and helped raise millions of dollars to fund innovative research into spinal cord injuries that has led to important breakthroughs in terms of increased odds of recovery and improved quality of life for those who've endured similar paralyzation.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.