Flaws – Day 1 FFF


Renee Spends Some Time Chatting With LanceAround and NumberOneEmber

My eyes droop and my fingers get slower with every typed word. It’s 12:15 in the morning and Day 1 of the FFF was exhausting both emotionally and physically. Regardless, on with the show!

The outside of the theatre was crowded with people and inside was no different. Several volunteers were trying to steer people into the two theaters showing Renee. We were lucky to get 3 seats together in the front row. As I sat through the introduction of the film, playing a game on my phone (much to my father’s disapproval), the spoken intro felt as though it ran the same length as the film.

The opening animated film, Fresh Guacamole,was great for a precursor to the depressing and emotionally unnerving topics of the opening night feature film; it was fun-spirited and made everyone laugh which is just the mood to be in to endure such raw emotions that the following movie would bring.

Renee is a fictionalized account based on the life of a real young woman addicted to strong drugs, alcohol and self-harm; in this case, cutting her arms with a razor blade. I got the opportunity to sit down with Renee herself and discuss the movie. She hadn’t actually known about the premier until several days beforehand. However, she had seen the movie before with her family: which she revealed to me as being quite awkward.

 “The film is intense and surreal,” she tells me. “Fantasies are fantasies for a reason. What really happened would have been more graphic.”

Most movies about drug abuse advocate against it, but this film is much more real than that. This film told the story of a girl who was ‘to write love on her arms’. This story, about one person’s experiences, highlights, bolds and italicizes that we have flaws. We’ll fall rock-bottom sometimes. And sometimes hope seems intangible.

Renee tells me, “Maybe your scars aren’t on your arms: maybe they’re internal; we’re human and that’s okay.”

When her story was released to the public, Renee developed into a kind of role model for others who are experiencing similar “chemical unbalancing” – not disorders: a word Renee doesn’t use for people with “everything under the sun” as she describes her own unbalancing.

“Life is a balancing act,” she says. “I’ve come to accept the pressure and responsibility of being a role model, but I still have to be Renee; I never asked to become this.”

Renee herself has been to rehabilitation 3 times –the movie being set during the second. She was sober for 3 years after relapsing that final time and almost lost her life.

“I’ve let down all those people.” She explains. However, Renee still hopes to be able to smash the chemical unbalances.

If this movie and speaking to Renee has taught me anything, it’s that people make mistakes and we have to except that failing is a major part of life. The most important thing is that we are honest with each other and ourselves. The word “secrets” play a major role in the film.

“You have to be transparent and honest,” Renee confides, “especially in relationships with parents, a significant other, and friends.”

And I mean to.

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