My Beautiful Broken Brain Review

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I first heard about this film scanning the SXSW lineup and was incredibly intrigued by the premise, I began to follow the small doc and then when I heard David Lynch was involved with the film I had to watch it. My Beautiful Broken Brain follows Lotje, a young woman who has suffered a brain stroke and is know recovering. From the start, My Beautiful Broken Brain presents us with an interesting subject, not simply for the documentary itself, but as a medical case onto its own, the way Lotje approaches her state of mind after the stroke is incredibly intriguing, but then getting to pair her current mindset and limitations with the remarks her colleagues make about her past life augment the broken dimension her brain has entered. Knowing she was considered one of the most articulate people by everyone around her and seeing her struggle to write and painstakingly search for simple words evokes profound emotions in one as the viewer, doing just what a documentary should do. The way Sophie Robinson juxtaposes Lotje struggling to remember the first seven letters of the alphabet against her friends commenting on her voracious reading habits strikes the viewer in unprecedented ways, jabbing at emotional chords with reason, unlike many melodramatic films today. There has to be an expected balance in every film, thus though we see Lotje struggling to regain her sense of self, we also witness Lotje successfully adopt her new self in an extremely reassuring way that conveys the viewer with Lotje’s sense of confidence and triumph against the horrors of her condition. As I mentioned before Lotje’s case would probably serve as a fascinating medical study, at least from my point of view, that is because of the conditions presented to us in her case. The way her mindset totally shifts after the stroke is entirely compelling, the way she chooses to use her words is drastically different during the film’s beginning, middle, and end, her descriptions about feeling as if she were constantly tripping paired with the gorgeous art direction that captures Lotje’s warped vision adds an otherwordly dimension to her case, which I even found more interesting than her already enthralling voyage towards resembling normality. The way Lotje’s recovery trajectory is explored is something I’d never witnessed before, as the film manages to be both soul-crushing and hopeful at the same time, mixed with the alluring, mysterious conditions of her case make this documentary completely worthwhile. As for any flaws I has with the film, there were some instances in which the film felt a little drawn out even though I get it was trying to depict the loss of time and reality, I did get somewhat dizzy from some of the camera-work, and the David Lynch section of the film did feel a bit pushed. All in all, My Beautiful Broken Brain is yet another fascinating Netflix documentary, one that follows the ups and downs of a compelling case unlike anything you’ve ever seen, communicating across its deeply personal way of being and transcending the barriers of what a documentary can do, establishing it an 81 out of 100 from me.


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