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Awful Normal (2004)

Celesta and Karen Davis grew up in a loving family. They shared many wonderful childhood moments and, at the time, thought it all was normal. But when Karen and Celesta were molested in ... See full summary »

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Celesta Davis ...
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Ellen Davis ...
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Karen Davis ...
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Celesta and Karen Davis grew up in a loving family. They shared many wonderful childhood moments and, at the time, thought it all was normal. But when Karen and Celesta were molested in 1978, little was being done about sexual abuse. Their parents' lack of action was neither questioned nor challenged, including years of continued social contact with the perpetrator, his wife and their two young children. This made for some not-so-normal memories. Twenty-five years later, feeling unresolved, they begin their quest to find the man who took advantage of their innocence and to ask him something that has haunted them for almost their entire life: "Why?" Director Davis takes one of the most personal journeys to tell her and her family's remarkable story, exploring the inner depths of a woman's psyche, which has been harmed, but refuses to be broken. A testament to the fragility and strength of the human spirit, "Awful Normal" explores the ripple effect of a single action across generations ... Written by Anonymous

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What would you say to the man who molested you?

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Documentary

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5 March 2004 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Celesta Bossa #2
Written by Kris Pooley
Performed by Small Time
Used with permission
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I Hope This Was Cathartic
15 February 2012 | by See all my reviews

I hope that was cathartic for them. That was basically my reaction as I watched this. This follows film-maker Celesta Davis, her sister Karen and her mother Ellen as they prepare to confront the family friend who molested the two girls when they were very young. To be honest I expected something different in this; something much more emotional; something much more powerful - and yet in most ways it wasn't. The account of the preparations for the confrontation was very clinical, straightforward and to the point. We learn a little bit about the girls' background and family. Their own family life was apparently strange enough, as evidenced by some memories both have of their own father, although - for reasons I never understood - neither woman seemed to have anger for their father, even though - to put this discreetly - the father apparently invited them to play with him. I found that strange. Still, though, the preparations weren't especially interesting. Then I was expecting the actual confrontation to offer something more than it did - but everyone seemed to get along fine. I wouldn't say that any old friendships were re-established, or even that any old wounds were obviously healed, but they all seemed to get along. Alan (the molester) tried to honestly explain what drove him to do what he did (and his explanation did come across as that, and not as an excuse.) The only real moment of emotion was after the fact, after the three women left Alan and Celesta broke down in sobs. That's where I'm hoping the catharsis came for them.

It's a courageous project, putting your life and deep, dark, buried secrets on display for the world to see, but I didn't find it to be especially interesting or powerful. You just end it hoping that it helped Celesta and Karen. (4/10)


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