Embrace – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

July 29, 2016 by Roz Tarszisz
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When my teenage daughters used to complain about an aspect of their bodies, I told them they had everything they needed for a happy life. I made peace with my thighs some time ago but after viewing Embrace realized that perhaps I could have saved years of anguish if I had been more truly accepting of my own body.

It has long been known that young females often have a difficult relationship with their bodies and how much harm they do to their confidence by not being as “perfect” as the images they see in magazines.   Filmmaker Taryn Brumfitt, baring all, has made herself the subject of a journey which explores the issue of body image and body loathing.

While contemplating plastic surgery to improve her appearance post-pregnancy, she had a light-bulb moment.  As a mother of three children, she wondered how she could teach them to accept and love their bodies if she was so uncomfortable in her own.

When she posted before and after photos of herself on the internet in 2013 they were seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy leading to many interviews and articles. Believing that the issue needed a wider platform, Brumfitt made a short trailer in 2014 and, through a very successful Kickstarter campaign, together with other funding, raised enough money to make her documentary.

Brumfitt’s crusade has taken her across the world to interview a wide variety of women, plus the occasional male, including burn-survivor Turia Pitt, Harnaam Kaur the ‘bearded dame’ and actress Ricki Lake.  The subjects are unflinching in their honesty, underscoring the premise that we all need to be less critical and more accepting of our bodies.

News that the film has been given an MA15+ rating has upset Brumfitt.  According to a recent article in The Australian by Emily Ritchie, the filmmaker says this means it will lose its target audience of young girls.

While there is a short, and possibly confronting, sequence that depicts a gallery of vaginas, it hasn’t been included for shock value, more to show how diverse bodies can be.

“It’s really important for me that as many people see Embrace as possible, because I know it has the ability to start a conversation and therefore create change” says Brumfitt.

The sequence which shows how images can easily be manipulated underlies her point about unrealistic body expectations. Watch it and weep for the many unhappy women still out there.

3.5/5    90 mins Rated MA15+ Released August 4

Written and directed by Taryn Brumfitt

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