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Film Review: Resilience

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Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope is brilliant piece of film that delves into the rarely spoken about darkness that can affect those in the hardest of situations.

The focus of the film is this issue of toxic stress – the kind of stress that’s constant, that’s without relief and can affect a person physically as well as mentally. Specifically, there is a focus on the children that stress can affect and the stigma we as a society have about a child’s relationship with mental health.

The film blends interviews with professionals in the care sector with the human stories of those that they treat. It focusses on people such as clinic workers who come face to face with the grisly reality of stress every day, and psychologists who conduct research and take those first steps towards lifting the veil of ignorance. Resilience then takes a step further, exploring the families of the children who are affected, alongside the now-adults that suffered with this condition and grew up not knowing any better than the version of 'normal' they have always had.

Some of those stories are heart breaking. One women professes her fear of her nine-year-old daughter, who was destructive and terrifying in her rage. Another speaks about being checked into hospital with heart problems, only to be told that it was anxiety related.

It’s hard in places to listen to the stories of sexual assault and abuse that some of these adults have been through. It’s a tough truth. But only by these stories being spoken about can awareness be raised and prevention begin.

This is an idea that is prevelent throughout the film – the emphasis that we need to converse openly. A really interesting example of this came from a primary school with a class that repeats a mantra of consent and welcomes speech. They are then encouraged to write anonymous letters or pictures about the things in their lives that are causing them stress. In doing so, each child is allowed to express their concerns, their fears and – in some cases – the horrors that have happened on their streets or in their homes. Their voice becomes just as important as any adult, even if they aren’t aware of how well they can use it yet.

And – the most important part – they always get an answer back.

Resilience is a documentary that attempts to chronicle the promising beginnings of an important movement into the effects of childhood trauma, and it achieves its goal in an interesting way. It is a brilliant stepping stone to encourage this important conversation of trauma and attempting to get to the root of the problem, rather than just deal with the aftermath.

Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope will be released in the UK April 27th. 

Resilience Trailer - KPJR Films from KPJR FILMS LLC on Vimeo.

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