You know, Jian Ghomeshi will affect us all in different ways, so a day after the verdict, as a means of getting through this last hour and a half of a semi turbulent plane ride from detroit to seattle, with narry but a mickey of Woodford and some free seatback TV as resilience practices, I give you this series of survivor movie reviews. Survivor narratives are barely anywhere on TV outside of CSI: Special Victims Unit, so I started thinking about the gems that I have watched obsessively over and over again that have spoken to me about trauma and resilience. Also I am a Taurus so I just watch the same shit over and over again. Here it is. WARNING LOTS OF SPOILERS. This is not an exhaustive list.
Good Will Hunting
I have a strange love for this movie. It's about working class white straight cis guys. But for all that, it's like one of the few films I've found about trauma and working class smart kids who are foster care survivors who fuck up, get the girl, fuck up, and in the end, reject assmillating into a nice middle class job. It also makes fun of most shrinks and the main character heals through finding a similar working class genius fuck up who went to MIT but is teaching at bunker hill community college. If it was about POC it'd be perfect but it would also be another movie.
Dance Me Outside.
Sorry this is gonna be a big spoiler, but this gem of a movie is like one of the few movies I see that has an almost all Native cast, where a white guy kills a Native woman but in the end the Native women kill the dude and nothing bad happens to them. Also, a white man's low sperm count is a prime plot point and there's a lot of gentle, goofy yet realistic kindsa Native masculinity in main characters. Plus, Gloria Mae Eshkibok is in it. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube. I used to have it on VHS.
Mostly for the moment where the main character touches the girl they are crushing on and everything stops. The sound cuts out as they kiss. When her mom kicks her out of the house, she doesn't kill herself. She goes to UC Berkeley to study like, queers and poetry. “ I'm not running, I'm choosing.” She stands with her best buddy on a Brooklyn rooftop eating an ice cream watching the sun.
One crazy upper middle class white femme girl runs away from the psych ward and her fucked up dad to live in an abandonned building and hang out in pre-gentrification Times Square with an also crazed survivor baby butch, strips, is supported by street life and starts a pirate radio station. They touch a lot and love each other but don't fuck. Trauma bonding. Femmeness. Sex work. Street life and running away to safety.
Once Were Warriors
Hella real, beautifully shot and acted story about intergenerational trauma and resilience in a Maori Indigenous community. The mom character is incredible . Hard hard survivor suicide moment at the end, but also a return home.
Still have never been able to bring myself to watch it. Have read the book 98 times. Glad it launched Gabrielle Sidibe's career but still mad Ms Rain has straight hair.
as of september 2010, I'm committing to post one new piece a week (disability and travel may remix this intention.) all this work is shared under a Creative Commons license- credit if you share, no commercial use allowed.
This work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.