A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story–Movie Review

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:

  1. Be yourself
  2. Be positive
  3. Be kind
  4. People who are hurt you probably have hurtful things going on in their lives
  5. 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:

Son of God — Movie Review

Selma — Movie Review

Entertaining Angels– Movie Review

Dare to be Kind by Lizzie Velasquez–Book Review

Lizzie Velasquez has learned to grow through life’s challenges She was born with a rare genetic syndrome which makes it impossible for her to gain weight; but she is more than a person with a disorder. She is:

Dare to Be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World
  • A motivational speaker
  • A Christian
  • A daughter and sister
  • A person with the gift of compassion
  • A dog lover
  • A friend
  • A college graduate
  • A anti-bullying activist
  • And so much more

Her message is that each of us is more than any one quality that may make us feel inferior or insecure. She says:

“Making the decision not to let anyone else define us and then choosing how to define ourselves and what we’re all about –these are essential steps in life ….And they have everything to do with moving forward on a path toward kindness.”

Although her appearance causes others to stare, and she has been cyber-bullied with a video describing her as the “world’s ugliest woman,” Lizzie remains a positive person. Connecting with and inspiring people is her passion, and her condition gives her a platform for doing that. She believes that::

“Those people who are fueled by hatred and anger to lash out against others, what if they had experienced more kindness, compassion, and acceptance in their own lives? In many cases, their outcomes would have been different.

If each of us does our part in spreading even small acts of kindness, there will be a ripple effect. She has some practical suggestions like giving compliments, smile, hold a door, tell those you meet to have a wonderful day, and so on. Let people know that you see them and value them. It can make a difference. We’re all responsible for creating a culture of kindness.

Finally Lizzie has learned to quell her doubts about the future because God in in control and His plan is bigger and better than anything we can imagine.

I don’t agree with all of Lizzie’s views, but I applaud many of her general premises: be kind; don’t judge others by their appearance; value your family and your past; pray and trust God, don’t be afraid to ask for help and be vulnerable.

VERDICT: 3 STARS

There is also a documentary about Lizzie’s life, “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Vasquez Story, which I plan to check out of the library and may review. Lizzie is also on YouTube and has a podcast.

For more posts on kindness see:

Deep Kindness by Houston Kraft–Book Review

A Quote on Kindness