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Passion Flower
Shelagh Carter
Canada, 2011, English, 90 minutes, TORONTO PREMIERE, Rated 14A

Based in the late 50’s early 1960’s, this film centers around a family reminiscent of “Leave it to Beaver”, more specifically the mother’s struggle with bi-polar disorder, how it affects her relationships, and how her illness affected the other members of her family. The attitude even then was so archaic; they even sent her to a center for shock therapy- a typical “treatment” back in the day. Back then, there was even less understanding around mental illness than there is today. The effects the mother’s illness had on the daughter were at the center of the film. The interesting part is that said daughter was behind the creation of the film, and it was based on a true story. It was a well depicted story about the effects of mental illness on the family, stemming from a dramatic story of a family facing mental and the long and winding path toward healing. Still today, it is difficult for even the experts to truly understand mental illness, especially those who have had nothing but textbooks and professors to which they could refer. With few exceptions, the only people who can truly understand the struggle are those who suffer from it, directly or otherwise. This festival brings the stories of the actual victims to light, and presents them to others who have a desire, or a need to further understand mental illness. By showing the struggle in Passion Flower from a variety of perspectives, the film also helps shed light on how particular groups of the population can be affected differently, and how the pressures of society impact people according gender, age and role(s) in the world.

Watched by Paul Murton, English Review by Melissa Peters

Passion Flower

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