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Plot:

The accident made national headlines: a suburban mother drove the wrong way on the Taconic Parkway in upstate New York and crashed head-on into an SUV, killing herself and seven others. In the aftermath, Diane Schuler was portrayed as a reckless drunk and a mother who cracked. But was she the monster the public made her out to be…or the perfect wife and mother that many say she was? Investigating the case six months after the accident, this documentary searches for answers to a mysterious and senseless tragedy.

Also Known As: Vad är det för fel på faster Diane?, Algo le pasa a la tía Diane, There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane, Cos jest nie tak z ciocia Diane

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  • lorenzo-salma-casarez-solorzano
    lorenzo salma casarez solorzano

    On July 26, 2009 Diane Schuler drove a mini-van the wrong way on New York State’s Taconic Parkway for 1.7 miles before her vehicle crashed head-on with another car, killing a total of eight people, four of whom were children. Autopsy toxicology reports showed that Diane Schuler (who was one of the fatalities) was both extremely drunk and very high on THC when she crashed. ‘There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane’ explores the accident in detail and chronicles the efforts of Diane Schuler’s husband and sister-in-law to clear her name after law enforcement and the media branded her as grossly negligent. Giving Diane the benefit of the doubt, ‘There’s Something Wrong…’ formulates the hypothesis that Schuler was suffering form severe pain due to an abscessed tooth and – while driving – drank a large amount of vodka in a very short time an effort to quell the pain. Intoxication led to delirium and the accident. Plausible? Perhaps, but highly unlikely. What the film doesn’t enunciate or even go near is a rather obvious and depressing conclusion that should have been floated from the get-go: that Diane Schuler was a secret alcoholic – and had been for a long time, no doubt. Her husband had no idea because she was so skilled at keeping her addiction under wraps.

  • connor-clarke
    connor clarke

    What makes me mad is this man wants his wife to be a saint. I can accept that she made a mistake. She was a good mother, wife and daughter in law but she messed up. The more he insists she be remembered as this above reproach angel the madder people are getting. A small part of me believes this man is just a narcissist and believes he and his wife are above us. How dare we critize them.

  • nina-zakrajsek
    nina zakrajsek

    Here’s my analysis of the situation: This is a woman who has always been overly responsible and “in control” and “perfect” and “strong” and has everything “together”. She needed to keep that appearance for herself and others because she was in no emotional state to actually deal with her underlying EMOTIONAL pain and rage– which naturally begins expressing itself in the body. When we do not deal with emotional pain, it’s like clogging a pipe. It has to come out somewhere– either you start manifesting pain in the body (her tooth) or you mentally snap. She was dealing with physical pain that she hid from people because of the emotional pain she hid from herself. Because she never learned to deal with PAIN in general– when she had the physical pain, which probably hit the maximum she had ever felt, it triggered a panic attack (people get those when they don’t know how to process sadness or other emotions). She was ill-equipped to deal with the pain both physically and emotionally and so went on a terror-binge of automatic pilot to make it all go away– FAST. She probably ate some weed (because her family is one that hides a lot it seems), which takes hours to kick in when you eat it. And then it didn’t relieve the physical pain, which triggered the panic attack, which triggered the binge-drinking, and THEN the weed kicked in and she fully lost her mind. According to the sister-in-law, the husband had told her- “I never wanted to have kids. And Diane was the one who was supposed to deal with this stuff”… If Diane was OVERLY responsible then she married a man who was an UNDER-functioner … someone who CANNOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. It’s textbook relationship dynamics 101– if we are extreme in one direction we naturally attract the person who will balance us out in the other direction. He said he didn’t want the kids because he didn’t want that responsibility… what makes you think he’d admit any responsibility when it came to his wife having a substance use problem and killing eight people? Denial is a powerful emotion. He denies, she represses– an absolute catastrophic situation, like a ticking time-bomb. The overall message of this movie: deal with your emotional because otherwise it will be your ultimate downfall.

  • dawn-fox
    dawn fox

    Yeah, no idea why this was made. Garbus has done better work. Perhaps she, like the audience, assumed there would be a different outcome but, nope. Waste of time…

  • sig-artes-caputo
    sig artes caputo

    “There Is Something Wrong With Aunt Diane” (2011 release; 103 min.) is a documentary about the horrific Taconic NY State Parkway car crash that killed 8 people. As the movie opens, we are “July 26, 2009”, and we see security footage of a minivan stopping at a gas station, with a woman getting out and wanting to by OTC medication but the gas station doesn’t have any. We then hear frantic 911 calls where people report a minivan driving at high speed in the wrong direction on the Taconic State Parkway, and then crash, killing the woman and 4 small children in the minivan, and the three adults in the SUV it hit head-on. Five says after the accident, the Westchester authorities which have done an autopsy, state that the woman had the alcohol equivalent of 10 drinks in her body, as well as high levels of pot. The woman’s surviving husband and sister-in-law immediately start a public campaign that this is simply impossible… At this point we are 15 min. into the documentary but to tell you more of how it unfolds would spoil your viewing experience.Couple of comments: this is the latest film from veteran and well-respected documentarian Liz Garbus (“Bobby Fischer Against the World”). Here she tackles the mystery of how a Diane, a ‘normal’ housewife who loves her young kids and nieces, ends up causing this horrific car crash, seemingly drunk and high (and at extreme levels no less). Garbus dissects the events of that day almost minute-by-minute, and of course interviews tons of people, nor just family members, but also experts that she engages (such as a forensic psychiatrist and an addiction psychiatrist). It all boils down to this: was the autopsy done correctly, and if so, how did she end up drunk and high? As you can well imagine, tension and emotions run high at times in such a heavily charged debate. But of course, regardless of what happened or how it happened, nothing will ever change the fact that 8 people dies that fateful day. It just leaves you shaking your head in disbelief. The documentary is a tidbit too long for its own good, but in the end it’s a minor complaint.I happened to stumble on this on HBO on Demand just the other day while looking for something good to watch. And that it certainly is, even though one cannot help but feel sorry for the families involved. Given that this documentary is now 7-8 years old, I would have loved to get a “where are they now” update on some of the prominent characters involved (Diane’s husband, the young son who is the only one to survive the accident, etc.). If you are a fan of documentaries, I’d readily suggest you check this out if you get the chance.

  • marcel-simek
    marcel simek

    I found myself getting very angry watching this. What have we come to when we defend a drunk driver and someone high on top of that? Yes she probably had some good qualities, but what she did was murder and if she was alive she would be in prison today. They claim she was such a great mom, but the kids were even buckled up or in booster seats? A good mom would not do that, sorry. This is pathetic! Abscess tooth is grasping at straws. I have had an an Abcessed tooth but I would not get drunk and drive , ESPECIALLY with kids in the car!!!!! Stop defending something that was WRONG! Those poor babies!

  • isin-corlu
    isin corlu

    I tried to watch the entire film but it was obvious that everyone was denying the fact she was drunk and killed all of these people.Don’t drink and drive and this won’t happen.

  • mr-joel-chapman
    mr joel chapman

    The underlying factor of this film is why was Diane Schuler using drugs/alcohol & self medicating? The film delves into details about Diane’s childhood, such as home life, friends, school, but fails to search for details as to why she refused, for some time, to have needed dental work done, that caused the chronic pain leading her to self medicate this day & take 8 lives, including her own. There were dental records including pain medication(s) prescribed & mention of her leaving in the middle of a dental procedure. This is where the film should’ve focused, as they had focused on her home/work life as an adult/mother. The film tries to portray Diane as the second coming of Mother Teresa & deflects the blame on her husband, who’s spent the aftermath making excuses & blaming everything/everyone but he & Diane. Diane was DUI at the time of the crash from alcohol/marijuana, self medicating for severe pain in the teeth/jaw/cheek. They portrayed Diane as a strong-willed leader at home/work, yet she repeatedly refused to have her dental issues resolved. This film should’ve been on Lifetime, not HBO. Lifetime, where women are always victims of men & never to blame.

  • artur-voronin
    artur voronin

    There is no doubt that there was alcohol and THC in Diane’s blood stream, that is FACT. I watched the entire family deny the facts for the entire ‘documentary’. What this film failed to explain was HOW Diane was that intoxicated. First off, THC is getting a bad rap here. THC is stored in a persons fat cells. It will remain in your system for anywhere between 1 week and a few months depending on that persons body mass, their personal metabolism and their usage of marijuana. It was revealed that Diane did in fact smoke marijuana. According to the family, she and she alone indulged occasionally. The family was coming home from a weekend camping trip. I’m 99% sure that while on this relaxing trip Diane would have consumed marijuana. There is hardly a better place to indulge. Campfire, marshmallows, the great outdoors…it’s a great place to smoke some marijuana and enjoy life. It makes sense that the toxicology report came back positive for marijuana. What is total bullshit is the report saying she smoked ‘an hour’ to ‘four hours’ (I think that is what was said) before the accident. There is no way to tell when she consumed the THC. Also, from daily personal experience, marijuana does not make you aggressive, it’s calming and relaxing. There is no way that THC is responsible for this accident. Now for the alcohol. I’ve been blind to alcoholism in the past with some very close friends. When people are true alcoholics, they are addicted and need the alcohol to survive. Diane was a professional and successful business woman and mother. Does anyone know anyone who can perform like Diane did while being sloppy drunk? Nope, it’s impossible. This is how alcoholics function. They maintain a constant buzz throughout the day. A little bit here, a little bit there, but a little bit all day long will take it’s toll. So here are my questions for the family or for Liz Garbus… -The Absolute Bottle that was found in the car. Was it the same bottle that was in the Schuler’s camper over the weekend? Was it full? How much was left in the bottle when Diane got in the car on Sunday? Had the Schuler’s been enjoying some vodka drinks over the weekend? I don’t know because that was never discussed. It seems that if the Schuler’s just ‘had a bottle in their camper’ it was for drinking. There is nothing wrong with drinking when done in moderation. So, did anyone drink that weekend? Kinda a big question that Liz decided to omit in the film. -Same question about the marijuana. Did anyone else indulge over the weekend? More importantly, did Diane’s husband witness her indulge? That would clear up a lot in the toxicology report. The film had a comment about marijuana being a hallucinogen…not true. It’s possible for a first time/non regular user to experience some hallucinogenic properties but it is rare. Anyone who regularly uses marijuana will not experience any hallucinations. The big questions are… -Did Diane stop anywhere else before getting to the toll booth on the Tappen Zee bridge? I’m sure there are credit card receipts that show purchases at the McDonalds/Gas station…did she stop anywhere else? There is only so much vodka on can fit in a coffee mug or soda cup…she would have been sipping on while driving, not slamming shots. Therefore she would have needed to stop multiple times to refill her beverage. I also don’t see this being the case. She was a responsible woman and held down a high position job while maintaining her family. -When and where would she have smoked marijuana? I find it hard enough to find a ‘safe’ place to indulge while traveling and I’m by myself. Diane had a van load of children. Did she just leave 5 kids a go have a walkabout and smoke a joint somewhere? I don’t see how this is possible either. We will never know what happens until the Schuler family stops the denial. What really happened that weekend at Lake Hunter? How did Diane get onto the Taconic and WHY??? She was heading away from her destination. Even in 2009 we had road cameras and tracking capabilities. What was the time frame from the time that they left the toll booth/placed the phone call/left phone on highway to the time of the accident? Did they stop somewhere between the toll booth and the accident? Is there no DOT footage showing Diane’s car en route to the Taconic? Is there something else in the toxicology report that has been omitted? Did she perhaps buy some marijuana at the truck stop that was laced with PCP? That would make sense but just not true. There is a big puzzle piece missing from this story and until the Schuler’s open up it will never be known. Diane was indeed impaired, but how, that is the main question. For one to become ‘blackout’ drunk there needs to be some serious alcohol consumption. I just don’t see how she could have consumed that much alcohol in the time frame in question as well as with her surroundings and children. Save yourself 3 hours and watch something else. I say 3 hours because I’ve spent over an hour writing this review.

  • louis-smith
    louis smith

    My theory on what happened involves the list of medications that they so conveniently glossed over earlier on in the film.It sounded like Diane was talking nonsense and acting very erratically. This is exactly how people get when they take Ambien and still remain awake. She may have mistakenly taken an Ambien pill, thinking it was something else.After she took the Ambien, anything could have happened. It doesn’t make sense that she was drinking, but if she were high on Ambien and then started drinking, this would make a lot more sense.Just my theory and I think it’s the one that makes the most sense. It is the only think that can explain how erratic her behavior and how nonsensical her speech was. If you are on marijuana or booze, you are still of your right mind…it is just a little distorted. Ambien removes you from reality altogether and if you do not end up passing out, you will be doing and saying things that are out of your control.The drug tests didn’t indicate anything because Ambien is in and out of your system so quickly that it would not be detected.

  • emilia-nyman-lehtinen
    emilia nyman lehtinen

    This should have been about an hour. What this film comes down to is one more test to see if Diane was drunk or not when she fatally killed 8 people with her van.There is many victims of this car accident. Diane’s husband is also a victim. His wife died as well as daughters. He is now a single father. He believes his wife’s autopsy report was wrong. The report says her blood alcohol was .19. You are legally drunk .08 and above!Now my opinion about this woman was that since her husband and herself worked opposite shifts he did not know she was heavy drinker. To this day I am sure he doesn’t think she was but trust me .19 meant she was most likely not a “Casual Drinker”. With that being said I do feel bad for him. We learn in this documentary that he is still struggling with loss. WE also see he is now a victim of internet bullying. People should leave him alone. This is worth watching however this entire would have been more effective if they had edited it down. Many of the same things get repeated by the same people.

  • petteri-lahtinen
    petteri lahtinen

    Exploitative and pointlessThis movie is about a tragedy, a tragedy with NO answers, except selfish, disgusting behavior. That makes this movie pointless and exploitative to the family members left behind. Not surprisingly, the parents of the victims didn’t’t want to have anything to do with the filmmakers! They chose NOT to relive the worst days of their lives, for NOTHING!Diane’s family uses these few hours to justify away her crimes. When medical evidence doesn’t support their justifications, they come up with new ones. Someone needs to do an intervention on these people. Sometimes drugs and alcohol makes people do horrible things- deal with it! I also find this documentary exploitative to the first responders. This horrific scene profoundly affected those who helped immediately in the aftermath, both professional, and good samaritan alike. I think making good people relive this tragedy for nothing is disgusting. I love documentaries, but this is just TERRIBLE! I can’t say more without including spoilers, but trust me, don’t ruin your day for nothing.

  • sohret-safak
    sohret safak

    This is one of the creepiest films I have ever seen. It’s a documentary that you just can’t wrap your head around. A prototypical perfect suburban Mom, goes crazy one day, for no reason we can discern. She didn’t have an axe or a gun. Even worse, she used her car as a weapon. This is the story of her life, and the creepy part is we never come to any closure. We just see her dead on the ground. Nor does her remaining family ever come to any closure.

  • martin-ernits
    martin ernits

    The story of “Aunt Diane” is ultimately a story about denial. The family of Diane Schuler, while confronted with overwhelming evidence of her being drunk and high, is stunning. I know they loved her. But PLEASE! Toxicology reports have no reason to lie. This is one of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard. The fact that they thought she “had a stroke” was amazing. I don’t think Diane Schuler was evil, I think she was an addict, who hid it very well from her family and friends. Based on the toxicology reports she was amazingly intoxicated but she maintained well enough to go to McDonald’s and a gas station-HELLO! This shows me she had built up a tolerance to alcohol and weed, otherwise she would not be able to walk.Then it (Vodka and Weed) truly kicked in. That’s where it went off the rails. How awful for everyone involved. Those precious children taken, the son surviving but impaired for life. And the innocent men just driving to get a Spaghetti and Meatball dinner… I know the family loved Diane, but PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE HER CULPABILITY IN THIS….SHE WAS DRUNK AND HIGH. End of story.

  • natasha-k-och-inyan
    natasha k och inyan

    I watched this documentary last night and i have mixed feelings after watching it. I actually didn’t know about this tragic accident until after i watched this documentary. It is very sad and tragic that this occurred but after watching this i feel like Diane’s husband is in denial. Of course no one knows except Diane herself why she did what she did but her husband seems very focused on proving her innocence. I can see why he wants to protect his wife’s name but it looks like the reality is much different. I think after watching the documentary I personally feel that Diane was drinking and maybe it was to help with her toothache but regardless alcohol was involved. It’s definitely confronting towards the end when photos are shown of Diane’s dead body at the scene. All in all a quite thought provoking documentary and definitely gives you lots to think about but also still leaves you with unanswered questions about this horrible tragedy.

  • zvaigzne-zenta
    zvaigzne zenta

    I don’t even know how to rate a documentary like this. Be warned, this will stick with you long after you’ve watched it. The entire story is just very disturbing and at the end there still is no answer as to why the tragic event happened. I thought the story telling was ok, but it truly focused too much on what a great person she was, when she killed 2 other people, herself and children because of her selfish actions. And the family being so hardcore in denial that she was an alcoholic even when they are presented with cold hard facts (the autopsy!!) is very difficult to watch. She had problems, and decided to get behind the wheel of a car that day, drunk and high as a kite- resulting in the deaths of many. Also, the image of her dead body with absolutely no warning right before was too much I felt, and didn’t need to be in the documentary. I was very disturbed after this movie, so watch with caution.

  • leslie-snyder
    leslie snyder

    I was both shocked & intrigued by this documentary. For me, the most shocking part of the whole store was that Diane evidently believed that the most appropriate time to crack a open a bottle of vodka and skin up a joint was when she had a car full of kids, two of which were her own.However, the one thing that this documentary fails to accurately portray is just how much alcohol Diana had consumed. The toxicologist merely states that she had 10 drinks in her system plus six grams in her stomach that had yet to enter her blood stream. 0.19 BAC is roughly ten drinks in the US, but one shot of vodka is 0.15 fl.oz, this multiplied by ten is 15 fl.oz. A US pint is 16 fl.oz. Baring in mind the six grams that was still in her stomach. DIANE HAD DRUNK A FULL PINT OF VODKA!!!This combined with the joint she had smoked (all within a couple of hours). Believe me, she was totally oblivious to her situation. I’m amazed she got as far as she did before disaster struck. What a tragedy that she could not wait until she was home.

  • dott-oretta-neri
    dott oretta neri

    I’ve got to say that for the first 35 minutes of this documentary, I wanted to believe Daniel Schuler and Jay Schuler, mainly for the sake of Bryan. I am an aunt of five, and I love them all dearly. I could never hurt those children. So I presumed that Diane must have been misunderstood. I still admire Jay for working so hard. And I commend her honesty. My heart broke for the families of Guy Bastardi, Michael Bastardi, and Daniel Longo. But then I heard about the bottle of Absolute in the vehicle. And I held my breath. I spent the rest of the film puzzled by Diane’s behavior. I was truly devastated when I finally accepted what seems to be the truth of the situation. Much respect for Dr. Harold Bursztajn, Steve Fishman, Betsy Spratt, Dr. Werner Spitz, and Dr. Carol Weiss for their expert contributions. And to Liz Garbus, for making such a compelling and powerful documentary. Much love and healing to the entire Hance family as well.

  • helena-da-mata
    helena da mata

    Well done film, but as others have mentioned, the Schuler family is less than forthcoming. The answer to why is fairly obvious…She developed severe pain from an abscessed tooth. I have had that and know how extremely painful that can be. It can look a a lot like your head hurts as the pain shoots thru your skull. She took whatever she had in the car in an attempt to ease the pain. She stopped at the gas station to try and find some pain killers but could not find any. Then she decided to use some pot she probably had kept in her purse in a further attempt to ease the pain. She probably felt she was responsible for the kids and didn’t want to stop somewhere and hoped to just ride it out till she got home. But the pain and the vodka and the pot all mixed together and she became delusional and incoherent.Her husband probably feels if he admits to anything he will be open to lawsuits. It’s obvious he has deep seated anger towards her but can’t display it so he buries it deep inside, that will erupt one day.

  • eveliina-hautala
    eveliina hautala

    There’s a fatal traffic accident that left aunt Diane, her daughter, 3 nieces and 3 men in the other car dead. The case is revealed slowly. In fact, it’s done too slowly. What went wrong? After watching so many police procedurals, it’s obviously that we need the tox report but they keep holding it off. Instead, they keep going to family and friends who repeat the same sentiment. She’s a great mom, and they have no idea what happened. Once we really get into it. It is a fascinating story. The family starts giving more insights. The story gets moving. However in the end, we don’t really get the whole story. The movie could be a simple hour-long investigative piece that ties in with the larger drug epidemic. It’s not necessary to drag this out so much.

  • dr-molnar-zsuzsanna-edit
    dr molnar zsuzsanna edit

    This is a quite simple tale that deeply and indirectly delves into how humans are prone to denial when in the face of staggering pain. Diane was a woman who rode her car against the traffic tide, hitting an oncoming car, killing herself, all the passengers in the met vehicle and a slew of her children. As the father struggles with the deaths, the news of Diane’s intoxication are released: alcohol and THC. The documentary starts just half a year after the deaths occurred. To me, what “really happened” isn’t the interesting stuff, but the denial is; seeing all of the people talk is the thing. It’s the journey, not the goal, whatever that would be. Interesting but not well edited; could have been better if the reins were held tighter.

  • talibe-ihsanoglu-sakarya
    talibe ihsanoglu sakarya

    Be warned! This movie stuck with me for nearly a week. After it ended I was kind of in shock for the rest of the day. Many may have experienced a similar feeling after seeing Schindler’s List, but even that movie contained more hope than this.This is one of the highest quality documentaries I’ve seen. Very well done. The suspense builds throughout as husband and sister-in-law battle to prove that Diane was not under the influence; that an autopsy stating the contrary had to be a mistake. The film never states this one way or the other, but by the end you will know. It doesn’t even come close to preaching on this subject, but makes the point in an extremely powerful, yet subtle way.We first hear about the victims, and the accident, see and hear bits of the funerals. Then we hear the coroner’s statement, and think, ‘Oh, no, this couldn’t be true.’, and identify with the denial of Diane’s family.Towards the end, we see that Daniel, the widower, seems cold and immature. He does not seem very warm to his young son, the only survivor. I could imagine feeling something like ‘My God, you are all I have left, I’m lucky to have you, I love you.’ But he says, ‘I never even wanted to have kids, and now I’m stuck with this, I’m a single parent.’ Okay… There’s a heartbreaking scene where the two are walking and Bryan tries to hold his Dad’s hand, Dad responds a little and Bryan ultimately gives up. I’m glad Bryan was finally able to at least get therapy.To me the true hero of the story is Jay, the sister-in-law. You can see that she really cares for all of her family involved, and especially for Bryan. She is probably the best person in his life.Driving is an awesome responsibility, and anytime we drive our own or someone else’s child, it is even more so. Many of us spend our days shuffling kids here and there, this really makes you pause and think. And…the idea of having anything in your system, even with the excuse of trying to dull the pain of a severe toothache, there is just no way that anyone should even consider getting behind the wheel in that state, let alone consuming more as one is driving.Part of Diane’s problem seemed to be that no one could ever tell her what to do or not do. So, she refused to get her teeth cared for as she should have, and when she then had severe pain, treated it her own way, a choice that led to the deaths of eight people, including four young children, causing horrible grief for all the families involved.

  • dr-a-kocsis-eszter
    dr a kocsis eszter

    I eagerly watched “Aunt Diane” because the story has troubled and fascinated me since it happened. As a psychotherapist (LCSW) and writer, I am often attracted to psychological events that are in some way out of the ordinary and involve something highly unexpected. In this case, besides the obvious emotional magnets, the hook is the seemingly straight-laced Super Mom who drives like a demon under the influence of not only alcohol, but pot too, and as a result, kills eight people, including herself. Really tragic, and begging for an explanation.Unfortunately, this documentary doesn’t provide it, though it does give some good hints and clues. Watching this film confirmed what I have thought all along: the real criminal in this picture is not the female D. Schuler; rather, it’s the male: Daniel. My theory prior to watching this was that Diane left the campground that morning angry. Was she consciously angry that Daniel got to drive off alone,(er,with the family dog) while she got to take the five kids for breakfast and then take the three girls home to her brother and sister-in-law’s house? Maybe not, but then, as the documentary shines light on, Diane was bursting with a lot of unrealized and unexpressed anger, starting twenty seven years ago when, at the age of nine, her mother took off, leaving Diane (the only girl) in charge of her brothers and father.As Daniel’s mother so aptly described, Diane had more of a third child in Daniel than a husband or partner. Perhaps Diane did what many of us unwittingly do so well: she chose a mate who helped to recreate her role in her original family. It’s not wildly improbable to assume that beneath the facade of the happy, in-charge, in-control woman was someone who was seething with unexpressed frustration and anger, which in turn made her prone to psychosomatic problems, such as TMJ, which was alluded to (moving her jaw, pain near the ear) in the film, perhaps headaches, and/or other stress-related pains and bothersome conditions.One of these conditions likely caused her to stop and seek pain killers, and then, given their unavailability, had Diane turn to vodka and pot, to soothe both her physical and psychic pain. I highly doubt that Diane used these extensively on a regular basis, for, as her friends and relatives described, she functioned too well. She did, however, like to have them on hand, for emergencies such as how she felt that morning: incapacitated by both headache and rage.Another clue suggested by the film was when Jay Schuler casually mentions that Daniel never wanted kids. This is a big, red flag, suggesting to me that on all these happy, festive family events, not to mention in the family activities of their daily lives, Daniel was an unwilling participant. Yes, he was present and he did the perfunctory actions, but ultimately, in the end, he went off on his own (emotionally if not literally) leaving Diane with most of the work.The other enlightening thing that Jay Schuler said was when, about three quarters of the way through the film, she is seen throwing up her hands and talking about Daniel, saying, basically, what a pain-in-the-butt he could be, how he only went so far in a process and then essentially said he had had enough, and also, about his insensitivity toward both her and Bryan, his son. Out loud, I said, “Yeah, imagine how Diane must have felt.” There are other psychological pieces which could be addressed but in another venue. As part of a film review, however, I think it’s fair to say that the film contributed information which, for me, solidified the opinion I have had since that day two years ago: if there is a real villain in this story, it is Daniel. He is the passive aggressive, disturbed child-man who is not interested in the truth coming out about what happened because that would indict him. I think this is one of the reasons, at least, that the Hances declined participation in the film. Besides their own emotional reasons why they didn’t want to appear in it, they may also not want to publicly state certain things, though given the legal actions that are currently taking place, I suspect the truth will soon be known.

  • autumn-erickson
    autumn erickson

    There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane (2011) *** 1/2 (out of 4)Another hard-hitting documentary from HBO takes a look at the tragic case of Diane Shuler, the woman who drove the wrong way down a NY highway and eventually killed herself, her daughter, three nieces as well as three men in the other vehicle. Her family, and especially her widowed husband, believes that the toxicology reports saying she was drunk were incorrect so he tries to use this documentary to clear her name, which doesn’t happen. Watching this film you can’t help but get angry and sad. Sad because so many innocent lives were lost in what appears to be a drunk driving case at best and at worse perhaps some sort of suicide on the part of Diane. There are several theories given about what happened and it’s clear that her husband wants to clear her name but it really does seem as if he’s just trying to come up with anything to get over his grief. One really can’t blame him for how he feels but at the same time I grew angry at him for coming up with anything to clear his wife. This includes saying the toxicology reports were wrong and he even wants to question a third report that pretty much confirms she was drunk. The film works pretty well as a mystery as one starts to think that something “other” happened to Diane but to me it was pretty obvious she was drunk no matter what else she was feeling. The documentary also interviews the three male victim’s families and it’s rather heartbreaking to hear them say they were preparing a meal when the three didn’t make it home for it. THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH AUNT DIANE isn’t a very easy film to watch but it certainly makes you appreciate time with her family because you simply never know when something like this could happen.

  • hege-odegard
    hege odegard

    This documentary is about a tragic accident, and the quest to find a satisfactory explanation for that accident. What it reveals is the remarkable human capacity for self-deception and denial, especially when confronted with a reality that is too painful to accept.The Aunt Diane of the title, perhaps due to the pain of an abscessed tooth, uncharacteristically consumed a significant amount of alcohol and pot, leading to a horrendous accident that killed eight people, including herself. The documentary is about the difficulty her husband and sister-in-law have in accepting this reality.An otherwise nice and responsible person, possibly suffering intense pain, impulsively and uncharacteristically made a really stupid decision to self-medicate, and the result was multiple deaths.It really isn’t fair, and I can understand why it is difficult for her family to accept. How can one dumb decision destroy so many lives? It is intensely frustrating and unsatisfying, but sometimes that’s reality.Diane’s family reminds me of people who refuse to believe that JFK could be gunned down by one random guy named Oswald, or those who refuse to believe that 19 hijackers could use some box-openers and turn the world upside-down on 9/11. The causation is inadequate to the effect emotionally–it feels lopsided. So people often start to look for conspiracies and ‘deeper’ explanations, rather than accepting the simple, savage truth: sometimes small decisions can result in wildly disproportionate and tragic consequences.