After a night of friends and leisure, Lotje Sodderland suffered an unrelated stroke; resulting in her short-term memory and various reactionary impulses being wiped away. She chronicles her progress on her iPhone, as well as her sadness, her epiphanies, and candid vlog entires.
Over the course of a year, we witness Sodderland comprehend her new perspective, which also entails representations of her heightened reality. According to Lotje, when objects drift towards her right side of her vision, they take on a surreal nature. The visuals are astounding and revitalizing as much as they are horrific. Art pieces receive an animated kickstart, while some pedestrians morph into demonic interpretations of their onlooking judgements.
As technology advances and cinema distances itself further from its roots, film buffs and the odd auteur will reiterate their “digital vs. film” argument citing that celluloid has more authenticity than a consumer video camera. Netflix’s My Beautiful Broken Brain squashes that regression with strong counterpoints. Digital technology has allowed the team behind My Beautiful Broken Brain to collaborate and manipulate the film’s visual presentations to reflect the realism of Lotje’s indescribable world.
My Beautiful Broken Brain is less of a traditional documentary and more of a visceral experience. Sodderland has channeled many of her high emotions through an accessible medium so that an audience can truly understand her particular state. She excels by communicating her experience to helpful co-director Sophie Robinson and an amazing VFX team who are then able to apply their own wonderful talents to the film’s mission. My Beautiful Broken Brain has a lot of love supporting it as well with the assistance of interviews from friends and family – many of them have followed Lotje on her challenging personal journey.
Sodderland has admiration for filmmaker David Lynch and compares her hallucinatory comprehensions to the filmmaker’s Twin Peaks. A minor subplot involves Lotje reaching out to get in touch with Lynch via video confessions. The film could’ve expanded on this fascinating relation to Lynch’s absurd reality (especially from what we see during the film’s final moments), but we’re just as smitten to see Lynch credited as an executive producer on My Beautiful Broken Brain. It shows that the filmmaker cares about Lotje and is just as touched as we are by the film’s motivations.
My Beautiful Broken Brain stands out as an exceptional watch amongst the slew of weekly new arrivals on Netflix’s streaming service.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie