Perfection is a powerful short-form documentary about three girls and their struggles with eating disorders. The film chronicles the day-to-day lives of Shannon, Steph and Colleen, who discuss what it’s like coping with the sometimes overlapping symptoms of anorexia, bulimia and EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). Program urges viewers to realize that eating disorders are a form of mental illness, and if not treated can lead to hospitalization and even death, as eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Produced by Monica Zinn
video, plus teacher’s resource book, student handouts and pre/post tests in digital format
Winner of the Documentary Award at the Virginia Student Film Festival in 2012
Official Selection 2012: Santa Cruz Film Festival
Virginia Student Film Festival West Chester Film Festival
Fear No Film - Utah Arts Festival
Santa Monica Teen Festival
Albany Film Festival
The title reflects the core underlying cause of most eating disorders. In this film, Shannon, Steph, and Colleen talk to the camera about their disease: how they control their weight, the need to be perfect, food as an obsession, and their need for controlling everything in their lives, not just eating. This may seem like 21 minutes of the same thing, but their stories are different enough, and the director of the film has established an effortless flow back and forth among the girls.
In addition, a social worker who works with clients with eating disorders appears and gives authoritative background on the disorders, including depression and addiction, which also come into play. In several segments, the story that the social worker tells about a particular patient is dramatized.
Later in the film, graphics show the treatment each girl received. They talk about what happened to them during and after treatment, including one’s brief struggle with drugs and the pregnancy of another. As the film ends, quotes by each are shown next to film of the three of them talking to each other.
Although the director was only 17 years old when she made this film, the movie is highly professional. Background music is unobtrusive but adds to the story. Visuals are interesting and hold the viewer’s attention. The film should appeal to adolescents, and would be most appropriate for junior high and senior high media centers. Counselors and health teachers may also want to use for classes and discussion. College classes in psychology or education of counselors may also see value in showing this to their students. A Teacher’s Resource Book is included on the DVD. Contents: introduction, learning objectives, program summary, fact sheets, and student activities, including worksheets and a crossword puzzle.
—Reviewed by Mary Northrup, Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods, Kansas City, Missouri
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)