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Inner Wound Real cover image

Inner Wound Real 2022

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Good Docs
Produced by Chelsea Moore, Leslie Fields-Cruz, and Denise A. Greene
Directed by Carrie Hawks
Streaming, 15 mins

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color); LGBTQIA+; Self-Harm

Date Entered: 03/20/2023

Reviewed by Dorian Bowen, Archivist/Film Historian

A combination of three autobiographical vignettes over a visual backdrop of three different animations, Inner Wound Real provides an intensely honest look at the risk factors, motivations, and releases involved in choosing to self-harm.

Each profile covers a different trigger. For one, it was the isolation of shyness and social ineptitude that led to the urge to feel and to self-punish. For one, it was growing up in an environment of abuse and drug addiction. For one, it was the dissonance between parental expectations and a burgeoning identity that could not conform. It also follows everyone’s story to present day and explores how in some circumstances it is possible to leave cutting behind, in some ways nothing can ever replace it, and how being a role model for others hiding the same secret can bring a sense of peace.

The animators include director Carrie Hawks, Pilar Garcia-Fernandezsesma, and Sakshi Jain. The film is a gentle yet powerful journey into a behavior that is rarely discussed openly, and it produces an emotional impression much greater than the sum of its short runtime. It is Highly Recommended.

While this film could be a valuable viewing experience for college students or adults, the target audience is grade school. Middle and high school are likely the best, but it is worth noting that in one story the fascination with scissors began in preschool and developed further in the elementary years. While self-harm may seem too delicate of a topic to broach with elementary school children, in certain circumstances – especially those compounded with conflicts around gender identity – this film could be a critical, life-saving tool that supersedes fear and shame. The film also includes an outstanding study guide with questions, activities, coping strategies, advice, and resources that can assist instructors in encouraging these important conversations.

School Library Journal's "18 Films for Young Viewers;" Tribeca Film Festival 2022 (Official Selection); Nova Frontier Film Festival 2022 (Official Selection)

Published and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Anyone can use these reviews, so long as they comply with the terms of the license.