Introducing, Selma Blair
- 1h 30m
A deeply intimate and raw portrait of Selma Blair after she is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and tries to slow the progression of her disease.A deeply intimate and raw portrait of Selma Blair after she is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and tries to slow the progression of her disease.A deeply intimate and raw portrait of Selma Blair after she is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and tries to slow the progression of her disease.
Actually, Selma had got that point early in life, when her teenage boyfriend died on her, but the value of this homespun wisdom was reinforced with a vengeance, second time round, when she was diagnosed with the incapacitating Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at 44. She can see that it's still a wonderful world, even at worst, and nothing is going to stop her enjoying the swimming and horse-riding that are so important to her.
The film's title 'Introducing, Selma Blair' is presumably meant to be cryptic, though I can't quite interpret the sub-text. My own introduction to Selma had been in 'Legally Blonde', where she was second female lead to Reese Witherspoon, but in every way leading lady in my eyes. It was not pure glamour, but something much more intriguing, full of mysterious power, even a touch of evil. For that reason, I'd always been disappointed by the odd sighting of her on the chat-shows, just joining in the vacuous girlie-giggles, all mystery banished. But this is startlingly different.
We open on Selma in spectacular jewelled headgear repeating "cultural appropriation" for no apparent reason, and we wonder if this is actually a clip from some new feature film, where she is exploiting her condition in a dramatic role. But it turns out to be just Selma showing us a typical day in her new life. Everyone keeps commending her bravery, though she claims she is just plodding through each hour as best she can. But it takes bravery for a famous actress to appear with her head shaven, as part of her endless treatment, which has not ended yet, five years in. A warning about receding gums could also be quite frightening for an actress. And she pulls no punches with the worst moments, her face contorted with pain, and agonised screams that tear at the heart.
This is, of course, America, with the best medical treatment on earth that money can buy, yet we are shown that even this can fail. (When she got a second opinion, it turned out that the first team had missed an important issue involving her brain tissue.) All this and COVID too!
Along the way, we note that Selma never seems to last more than two years in a relationship - except with her son Arthur, and it is heartwarming to see how the charming little fellow has put new shape into her life, providing the essential anchorage that may yet save her health and sanity for new triumphs.
- Nov 10, 2021