After reading a book by Lizzie Velasquez (Dare to be Kind by Lizzie Velasquez–Book Review), I decided to check out this documentary about her life from the local library. Lizzie has a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, and as a consequence of looking very different, she was shunned and stared at from an early age. When she was 17 she discovered a YouTube video calling her “the world’s ugliest woman.” Worse yet, many viewers of the clip posted hurtful comments like “kill it with fire” and “why didn’t her parents abort her?”
Lizzie’s father, an active Christian, counsels her to forgive and channel her energy into promoting positivity online. She starts her own podcast and becomes a motivational speaker whose TEDx talk is viewed by millions.
The film focuses heavily on her campaign to promote a federal anti-bullying bill, and her collaboration with Tina Meier, whose daughter hanged herself after a cyber-bullying incident, and congresswoman Linda Sanchez, who sponsored the bill.
As I said in my book review, I’m not sure I support all of Lizzie’s opinions. I would have to do more research on the anti-bullying bill — it sounds good, but how is bullying defined and who defines it? My fear is that “anti-bullying” could lead into the ability to punish or silence anyone who expressed negative ideas about your or your beliefs, interfering with free speech. It’s something that should be talked about and approached, but cautiously.
That being said, Lizzie is an inspiring person, and the world needs more people like her. This movie would be great to watch with older children or teens because they need to hear her messages:
- Be yourself
- Be positive
- Be kind
- People who are hurt you probably have hurtful things going on in their lives
- Set goals and focus on them– don’t be deterred by the negative comments of others
In fact, we all need to hear these things.
VERDICT: 5 STARS. Watch this movie with your family and friends, and support Lizzie by spreading kindness
For more movie reviews see: