Resilience Film Review: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope

Resilience Film ReviewResilience Film Review

The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope

Many children all over the world are stressed. There is the stress that we are often subjected to intermittently and a “Toxic Stress” where the stress perpetuates. The common stress that we experience releases adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream to help the body react to the situation. This can be anything from exam stress to narrowly avoiding a road traffic accident. But continuous stress where the body has no time to recover can lead adult disorders such as heart disease, cancer, and obesity and potentially decreasing life expectancy by as much as 20 years.

Documentary filmmaker James Redford, the son of Robert Redford, has directed a film that explores the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how they have been shown to link to diseases in later life such as cancer, depression and heart disease. ACEs are the experiences that, as a child, add to Toxic Stress. For example, abusive or alcoholic parents, living in a socially deprived area or struggling with financial difficulties.

The documentary chronicles the promising beginnings of an international movement to prevent childhood trauma, treat Toxic Stress, and greatly improve the health of future generations. Resilience gives a voice to the experts and practitioners at the heart of this cutting-edge science. It is allowing them to help the next generation break the cycles of adversity and disease. However, at certain points, I started to feel that cultural differences are being put to one side. The film seems to focus only on US statistics. That said, there are some sad fly-on-the-wall scenes in a Doctor’s clinic and some of the hand drawn letters from kids are heartbreaking. Toxic Stress is rife the world over.

Snippets of interviews with doctors, educators and community advocates, with various uncited statistics, grab your attention. The statistics are not overwhelming but Resilience is an interesting documentary that gives us an overview of healthcare issues that affect us in modern society. It breaks new ground on the Biology of Stress and Adverse Childhood Experiences and its links to major illnesses and because of this, I’m spreading the word. It’s only one hour and it will inform and educate you about an area you may not have considered before.