Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mighty Fine: A Review

As an adult, I like millions of others, have reconnected with people from our childhood often through Facebook.  I wholeheartedly admit I lovelovelove looking through photos of people I know, so this forum is kind of a holy grail for me! 

A few years ago, I reconnected with someone I was very good friends with in elementary school.  The kind of friend who was part of a group of about 5 girls that every weekend spent the night at one house or another. Usually it was a couple of our houses more than others, but lots of playtime, outside time, and together time throughout those elementary years.

As I looked through this childhood friend's photographs, she had a folder specifically for her dad. Perusing the photos, I thought, "that's not the dad I knew."
Reading captions of her photos, it was clear that this man, her dad, was not always physically present in her life because he was involved in drugs and in jail.  The dad I knew was her stepdad. Only in the late 70s and early 80s that wasn't as common.  I had no idea.

I emailed her about all of the above and said that it's amazing to look back on our childhood this way and I wish I had known what she was going through with the knowledge I had now.  As an adult, the feelings of sadness I had that she may not have had the picture perfect childhood I was blessed to have and thought everyone else I knew did also, I cannot even explain. She was my friend and I had no idea.

Thirty years later, I have a child in my life who lives in much of the same secrecy. There is shame in this child's demeanor when she speaks of a home. Embarrassment of "how things are."  Recognition as she ages that many of the "how things are," elements, are not normal.  Constant fear, shame, embarrassment. 

She used to look at the ground when she was spoken to on any level.  She used to flap her hands and arms by her sides when any adult spoke to her.  She's witnessed adults who "love"one another screaming obscenities, punching walls, threatening each other, guns being pointed, being put outside because a parent didn't like the answer she gave to "teach her a lesson." And then she's supposed to believe in love and security.

Emotional abuse is so damaging.  And so, so difficult to prove. 

Recently, I was given the opportunity to preview a movie about this very subject. 
Set in the 70s, a prominent family, who from the outside, was picture perfect. Husband, wife, two daughters. Successful.  A charming man who behind closed doors unleashed emotional and mental turmoil within the safety of his home.

The movie stars Andie McDowell, Chazz Palminteri, Jodelle Ferland and {film debut of Andie's real-life daughter} Rainey Qualley. 

Chazz's performance as this dutiful husband, father and breadwinner who explodes at the drop of a hat was flawless.  He is believable without question.

Without giving much more of the film away, it was thought provoking, discussion inducing and very sobering.  My husband popped in periodically while I was watching {because he loves Chazz} to ask how it was and I just kept telling him it was so, so authentic.

The only thing I wish differently is that it were set more present. Only because I believe the presence of this type of emotional abuse is so prevalent right now in society that its value could be dismissed in "that was a long time ago" thinking. 

After the viewing, we also participated in a live chat with the actors which honestly was pretty amazing. I was available for the chat with Rainey, who played the eldest daughter and Chazz, the father.  As participants we were able to type in a question and the actors would answer or respond. This is what I love about technology!

Chazz's chat was very impactful. "Talking" with an accomplished actor who has been in 60 films about this movie was awesome!  He pointedly stated that his actions in the movie weren't talked about in the 70s. There was no definitive, "Oh he's bipolar," or the like, but rather something like "he has anger issues."  It was kept secret.   Much of it still is today, although there is more awareness today.

I think this film is a must-see ~especially for parents, teachers whose lives are intertwined with children. You just may never know whose life you may recognize is impacted in this way.

Mighty Fine is released in select theaters on May 25.  Check here to see if it's in a theater near you.

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mighty Fine and the distributor. I received access to an online showing of the film and a promotional item to thank me for participating” 

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you wrote about this - I am looking forward to it, and have missed QUALITY films in my life. The Five Year Engagement just wasn't cutting it.

    Love to you, darlin.