FILM REVIEW: A Brave Heart – The Lizzie Velasquez Story2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Lizzie Velasquez, who suffers from a rare medical condition that renders her unable to gain weight, becomes a motivational speaker and anti-bullying lobbyist.
Director: Sara Hirsh Bordo
Cast: Elizabeth Anne Velasquez
Review by Jean Wong
A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story (2015) is a pivotal documentary film about Elizabeth “Lizzie” Velasquez’s life with her illness. The film starts off where it all began — at Lizzie’s kindergarten where she first noticed she was different when kids started whispering, pointing at her and avoiding her.
The stark clarity of those memories many years later hint at the deep impact it had on Lizzie, who echoes the same sentiment later on in the documentary: “These scars never go away.” As A Brave Heart follows Lizzie on her journey from being a victim of bullying to an anti-bullying activist, it intertwines anecdotes of Lizzie’s life to form her story in a touching way.
Each chapter of Lizzie’s story was captured and edited in a coherent manner that allowed us to easily empathise with her. The documentary was kept engaging with a myriad of montages, interviews and footage of Lizzie’s daily life.
Having A Brave Heart take on a positive light as it progresses is also what keeps it inspiring. Though her story may have started out rough, the film avoids dwelling on the unfortunate and focuses the story on Lizzie’s present instead of her past. The decision to walk us through Lizzie’s story from the beginning to where she stands now feels complete though not final, and we are left with a hopeful sense of what is yet to come.
A Brave Heart concludes on a feel-good note as we watch Lizzie lobbying for the Safe Schools Improvement Act by putting her motivational speaking skills to good use. Indeed, A Brave Heart is an apt film to open the Happiness Film Festival with its empowering message of hope and perseverance.
About The Happiness Film Festival
Held in Singapore, The Happiness Film Festival is the world’s first film festival that promotes happiness. It hopes to raise greater awareness on happiness and well-being through films and post-film dialogue sessions. Film is a powerful medium that can engage audiences and start meaningful conversations. The post-screening dialogues will bring together speakers to talk about issues or ideas explored in the film.