Warning: The following article mentions sexual abuse. Please read with caution.
Photojournalist Amanda Mustard explores a dark secret from her family history in Great Photo, Lovely Life, a 2023 true-crime documentary, streaming Dec. 5 on Max. In it, Mustard, who also co-directed the movie, confronts her grandfather, Bill Flickinger, who sexually molested members of his own family, among others, for decades.
As the movie relates, Flickinger, seen in the film before his death, was a chiropractor who was charged with statutory rape in the mid-1970s but faced few legal repercussions because it was his first offense. Later on, he was accused of sexually abusing women and girls at his clinic, including patients and staff.
Based on those professional allegations, Flickinger’s license was revoked in Pennsylvania. Flickinger and his family then traveled the country as salespeople before settling in Florida. In the meantime, Flickinger kept video evidence of his chronic molestation of children.
Flickinger had a family
While that abuse was happening, Bill Flickinger was married with children, and Amanda Mustard’s movie — co-directed with Rachel Beth Anderson — alleges he abused his daughter and granddaughter as well.
Flickinger said he had an addiction, and according to the movie, he never reckoned with the role he played in his crimes before he died. ” … [S]ome of these little girls, for example, would almost throw themselves at me … it was too much of an open temptation. And I fell into it,” Flickinger said (via The Messenger).
In the 1990s, Flickinger spent 4 1/2 years in prison for his crimes. Otherwise, Flickinger never faced legal consequences and is believed to have molested children well into old age after his family cut off almost all contact with him.
Flickinger was an open secret in Mustard’s family
Moreso than the details of Bill Flickinger’s alleged abuse, filmmaker Amanda Mustard addresses the trauma Flickinger imposed on his family and considers how her family has lasted so long without confronting it. Although Flickinger never abused Mustard — he did, however, molest her sister, Angie — Flickinger’s crimes have had a lasting effect on Mustard’s life, the movie explains.
In advance of her movie, Mustard spoke with Penn Live. “The film is me trying to address the generational trauma that resulted from this. And it ends up being not so much a film about him, but about how my family responds to the process of pulling skeletons out of the closet,” she said. Flickinger died before Great Photo, Lovely Life was released.