By Christina Baltais in The Mighty.
“Unrest” follows the story of Jennifer Brea becoming ill with ME/CFS. The film goes so much farther beyond this narrative. It’s also a science lesson, moving love story, a tale on the adaptability of the human spirit and a call to action. This past spring I attended a screening for “Unrest” at the Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto. Something powerfully transformative happened during the screening. Something that’s hard to articulate in a review.
Having ME/CFS and being in a crowd of others with ME/CFS — watching this film together — was pretty exciting. It’s not often we all get together like this. Before the film began, I scanned the crowd with curiosity. I knew there were others in the crowd whose lives likely mirrored my own. There’s something instinctive about always trying to see ourselves in others.
We are searching to find commonality and a sense of belonging. It also felt good to be in a room full of people with the same purpose: to talk openly and honestly about ME/CFS. Something I had refrained myself from doing for so many years. This is because society often makes illness feel like a taboo or “dark subject.” There’s an underlying mentality that you’re a positive person if you’re feeling well, and a negative person when you’re not. Thankfully shame and untrue ideas were checked out at the door. We got down to business, and watched the film together.
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