One Foot In Reality


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

One Foot In Reality
"A bold take on a subject it's still all too easy to obfuscate."

In recent years, people in the UK have become more and more open to talking about child abuse. Though there is still some unwillingness to acknowledge the scale on the problem and survivors can still face disbelief, there is also an acceptance that it is a real issue and that more must be done to protect children. There is still, however, very little public understanding of the problems that can be faced by adult survivors.

One Foot in Reality is a first hand account of abuse and the impact it can have on the rest of a person's existence. It's light on details of what happened, so avoids the risk of sensationalising it and making things harder for viewers who have been through it themselves, but it still has a powerful impact. Told in the plain terms often used by those who cannot afford to connect with the past emotionally, it explores the way the brain can shut off part of itself to escape trauma that is simply too big for a child to understand, and the impact that can have in later life - especially for someone who is genetically predisposed to schizophrenia.

When reality is too painful to bear, it can be easier to exist somewhere else, to separate completely. If one has one foot in reality and can still perform most of life's day to day functions as expected, it may be that nobody can tell. There's still a myth that these things only happen in lower class, shabbily dressed, roughly spoken 'problem families', so the more smoothly everything else goes, the more deeply the damage can be hidden. The subject of this film had a family of her own before, apparently out of nowhere, she suffered a breakdown, a complete disassociation that required her to be hospitalised Thereafter, keeping one foot in reality was about being there for her children - and undertaking the long, hard journey to personal unity.

Beautifully shot in a home that bears testament to that recovery and to the personality behind it, this film offers a bold take on a subject it's still all too easy to obfuscate. It never tries to expand beyond the personal but, in its conciseness, offers perspectives that many viewers will find new and enlightening. It's a story of tremendous courage and fortitude, a reminder that it gets better usually requires a lot of hard work, and an invitation to recognise both abuse and mental illness as part of the tapestry of the wider world.

Screening at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival as part of Women, Interrupted Sat 15 Oct, CCA Glasgow.

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2016
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A woman discusses the impact of child abuse on her mental health in later life.

Director: Ramtin Nikzad

Year: 2016

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: US



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