With the recent death of my grandmother, I’ve come to realize that even if you live to the ripe old age of ninety-two, as she did, life is too short. Then I think about my uncle, who was her primary caregiver during so many difficult times, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine how trying that experience was for him… until now. Journalist and filmmaker Richard Lui’s documentary, Hidden Wounds, is a must-see for every single person on the planet.
Father Time is undefeated, so we should know what the final years could look like for our loved ones and us. Impressively, Lui gives the most accurate picture that I’ve ever seen. It’s not pretty and is filled with sorrow and tears but is equally permeated with love and care.
The film follows three separate stories, over the course of five years, of the hidden battle that takes place within people who are suffering from afflictions that are not visible on the outside. The director also wisely shows how it affects the family members who care for them. Hidden Wounds is powerful, unflinching, and made with a level of love and understanding that is unsurpassed.
The credit for this high level of filmmaking goes to Lui (as well as his all-female crew) because this story is personal. The first of the three subjects is his father, Stephen. He’s battling Alzheimer’s, while Lui sacrifices everything he has to care for him. Watching as a loved one slowly loses who they are is a traumatic experience, and you can see that when the filmmaker’s sister breaks down after their first in-person visit in a year because of Covid-19. She can tell that her father isn’t the same as before, which is such a painful thing to realize.
“…the hidden battle that takes place within people who are suffering from afflictions that are not visible…”
Another person Lui follows is Kate Hendricks Thomas, a mental health expert, author, marine veteran, and TED talk speaker. She’s preparing her husband and five-year-old son for life without her due to a terminal breast cancer diagnosis. This one hits close to home for two reasons: my mom has battled breast cancer before (and is currently in remission), and my greatest fear in life is to die while my son is young. As a parent, a major priority becomes taking care of and teaching your children to the best of your ability while also just soaking in the joy of being around them. As such, it’s absolutely gut-wrenching for Thomas and her family to know that she won’t be around much longer.
The third account of Hidden Wounds is that of Luke Bushatz, a veteran who served in Afghanistan and is suffering strongly from a traumatic brain injury and PTSD. His wife Amy, and their two sons, often bear the brunt of his angry outbursts and mental confusion. Bushatz has heavily contemplated suicide due to his constant headaches and emotional pain that he inflicts on himself and those close to him. But he hangs on best he can for God and family.
All of these stories are filled with emotion and pain, but also love and the strength of family to persevere. Mental health has become a hot-button topic in society over the past few years, and this film really shines a light on what it can be like to face some of the darkest mental issues.
Some people may fear that Hidden Wounds is too sad to watch, and I must admit that I shed a fair amount of tears viewing the documentary. But the beauty of life and love makes it worth it all, much like the journey that we all take. To quote a line from WandaVision, “What is grief, if not love persevering?”
Source : https://filmthreat.com/reviews/hidden-wounds/