Introducing, Selma Blair (2021) Poster

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7/10
no easy path
ferguson-619 March 2021
SXSW 2021 Greetings again from the darkness. Whether it's navigating the stairs on all fours, getting a boost up to the saddle of her beloved horse, or showing off her glittery turbans and walking canes, the showmanship of actress Selma Blair seems ever-present despite the severe effects of her Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Documentarian Rachel Fleit films the daily challenges faced by Ms. Blair as she comes to grips with the disease and its impact on her career, her life, and her ability to raise her son.

You likely recognize Selma Blair from her most popular movies, CRUEL INTENTIONS (1999) and LEGALLY BLONDE (2001). She admits to viewing herself as a supporting actor, rather than a star, but with 80 screen credits over 25 years, she's certainly worked consistently. But here we see her daily physical and emotional struggles, though her sense of humor is present except for the darkest moments. Cracking wise about Kim Kardashian or Norma Desmond (SUNSET BLVD), and never hesitating to ensure her cane serves the dual purpose of fashion accessory, Ms. Blair keeps us constantly guessing as to whether she is serving up raw emotions or her best performance in the moment.

We can easily forgive her if a bit of her good humor is an act. It seems clear the film is designed to be a "gift" to her young son Arthur, should her life be cut short. Early on, we witness an MS episode when the stimulus gets to be too much. Her physical contortions and impaired speech are difficult to watch, but necessary for us to fully understand the brutality of the disease.

Half of the film is dedicated to her decision to seek stem cell treatment. The process is long and arduous, and we are spared much of the worst that she experiences. Still, it's a weeks-long cycle followed by a two year recovery, with no guarantee of improvement. In fact, no miracle cure or recovery occurs, and Ms. Blair initially seems shocked that she has two years of recovery ahead. It's difficult to believe she had not previously been informed.

Selma Blair's slogan, "We have so much time to be dead", is a terrific message and she's to be commended and respected for opening up her challenges to the camera. It's hopeful that her willingness to do so will help others, while also educating those unfamiliar with this disease. Mommy issues and extra drama aside, this film is quite something to experience.
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8/10
Her best production?
Goingbegging10 November 2021
Appreciating every day...

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.
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8/10
Had no idea she was diagnosed with MS. :(
midnitepantera23 October 2021
This was actually quite heartbreaking to watch. And when the dog jumped off her lap, it was like a rollercoaster that hit a HUGE drop. :O I found Selma to be quite a fighter and so lovely as a person and brave, as she let us see the struggles and darkness of an illness that is trying to steal her life light away from her. I pray she is improving more and more everyday for herself, her son, and all her family, friends and fans.

This is a very difficult thing to share, and a lot of people don't know, understand or even care when others become chronically ill and how from one moment to the next, one hour to the next, one day to the next, you can seem fine or be able to mask your pain from others and other moments you go off the deep end and you can't control anything. This sadly, is when you find out who your real friends are, because its amazing how many people will run from your life once your not able to live it to the fullest, and are being suffocated by pain and fear. I know, I've been there. :( I'm glad to see how many wonderful people were in her support system and that truly love her and are sacrificing themselves and their heart to make this painful journey with her. Those people are literally angels. God Speed in your recovery Selma!
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10/10
I don't know what to even write
and_shove_it_up_your_butt17 November 2021
I watched the documentary maybe a week ago and still don't know what to write for a review. The only thing I CAN say is that watching it changed my life and perspective in several ways. Selma, thank you for sharing your humanity with the world.
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9/10
Beautiful, painful film
avenuesf24 October 2021
As another reviewer here states, I also found this very powerful documentary to be heartbreaking and incredibly moving. I knew Ms. Blair had been diagnosed with MS in 2018 but was unaware she had gone through the process of undergoing a stem cell transplant, and the film chronicles a lot of what that hellish experience is like. Throughout the documentary she very bravely shows us both the physical as well as the mental pain she experiences coping with her illness, and although her courage is certainly commendable, sometimes it's difficult to watch.

What I found most heart-wrenching was Ms. Blair's continual search throughout the film's running time to try to find love from her memories of a mother who apparently wasn't a very loving one; at first I found her sarcastic, self-deprecating sense of humor endearing, but it became more and more painful to watch as the film progressed and I gained a better understanding of what her childhood may have been like. Strangely, the film keeps her mother at a distance, mostly just showing us photographs and brief recollections from Ms. Blair. At one point during the documentary there's a very brief phone conversation shown between the two, and her mother doesn't seem to be completely coherent. No further explanation of it is given, and I wish the filmmaker had given us a more detailed picture of what the woman had been like. She's depiected as quite narcissistic. What is made very clear and is equally poignant is that the love Ms. Blair often implies she didn't receive as a child she gives whole-heartedly to her young son. She's an amazing mother who shows him nothing but completely accepting, unconditional love.

This is a documentary that shows us how life often doesn't make any sense and how cruel it can be sometimes. Ms. Blair is a courageous, very admirable woman and I wish her the very best in her continued recovery. Maybe someday we'll even see her in a role again, something I very much look forward to.
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10/10
Brave Brave Woman
dskala22 October 2021
There are no words I can think of to describe this documentary that would do this justice but I'll try. It was uplifting and emotional and i felt her emotional pain. I cried when she cried and I pray for her every day. She is a wonderful mother and that relationship with her son is the most beautiful thing I have seen in a long time. For me watching this made everything going on in the world now pale in importance compared to what this brave woman is going through. We had a neighbor who died a 11 years ago with MS and he was diagnosed in 1976. He was 77. Our families were very close. Selma is beautiful more beautiful than any other actress. She has Herculean strength.
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9/10
My Dad has MS
xtidusxyunax2 November 2021
I know the struggles that they have day by day in the community and good to have a spotlight. Selma is an amazing person but also quite funny and it is good to have that duality in the film.

Its good to see her journey and where she is now.
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9/10
Encouraging, but bummer its needed
K_Deloz22 October 2021
As caretaker for my spouse, who has a similar neuro-disease, my hat is off to Selma for the courage to show her vulnerabilities to the world.

There is no other group more discriminated than the disabled. It is much better than even 20 years ago, but social exclusion remains at the top. No other group of individuals has the insecurity of not only being universally judged as different, but also knowing they are different...and there is nothing they can about it.

There are many true advocates, but humanity's majority still see disabled people as broken, having less to offer to the world and worth staring at while sidestepping because you do not know how to interact. But how to break that barrier down?

It is videos and documentaries like this that allows young people to learn earlier that on individuals with disabilities are no less than they are, and in fact may have everything to offer (Stephen Hawking comes to mind).

Sorry if this is lecturing, but reading other review's criticality tweaked a nerve a bit. Regardless whether person is a celebrity or an average everyday human (i.e., Bernadette), they are people just like you and everyone else...no better, no worse. They are having their own human experience just like you. Until there is more understanding and less stares, cajoles, jokes and comments when an individual with a disability walks into the room or rolls by on the sidewalk, these will remain exceedingly necessary.

A perfect world is one where people do not feel a need to make others feel awkward, less than or just different only to boost their own ego or self-esteem. One where we all treat each other with love, even if it is not returned. Love is free to give and so rewarding; whereas anger, judgement and hate come at a cost...and are so exhausting.

For this film, there is no judgement. This is a person who is using her platform to show her struggles, revealing her fears and revealing the raw nerves that most folks do their utmost to keep hidden. How many people are willing expose their embarrassments in a true way? It is rare, and welcome!
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10/10
A Grounding Documentary
siesta-5084525 October 2021
Selma's experience just brings it all home for us, doesn't it? We are fragile, impermanent beings who live every moment by chance. By chance, we made it home safely today. By chance, we grew old to see our children get married. By chance, we woke up one morning and couldn't feel our legs.

If we're lucky, we all at one time in our lives will have that "come to Jesus" moment where life is very fxcking real and there we are standing at the shore trying to hold back the waves, only to realize we are not in control.

This is one person's story of the human experience. It is funny. It's tragic. It's angry. It's hopeful. It's frustrating. It's spiritual.

Forget who you are for just moment and watch this. Forget how you're going to get what you want, forget that resentment you're nursing, forget how wounded by others you feel - watch this, and connect with a story that is not Selma's alone but on a much deeper level is all of ours.
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Love to Her and Her Whanau
nihilizm25 October 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Pulled at my heart strings - Loved her acting style as she had that half closed eyelid's thing going on and a casual mellow feel she gave in all her performances- it seemed to me - so sad to see her struggling with this horrible disease - it will be an ongoing fight for her life to battle and to regain some sort of control, to own her body again forever in her case. So with that I have nothing but Love for Selma, a true Star in my humble opinion.
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9/10
Raw and Loving Look at MS through the eyes of Selma Blair
jan-headrick26 October 2021
God Bless you Selma Blair. I wasn't sure what to expect - but I can say it touched me, moved me to tears and made me thankful for doctors and medical professionals who are constantly working to find new ways to treat these debilitating illnesses. Selma, you are so strong and brave to share your story this way. Xo.
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10/10
Ten star human being
bwadsworth029-797-38657810 November 2021
Honestly I haven't seen this show because I don't have discovery plus but around 15 years ago I spent a day with Selma Blair and she left an impression on me that I most likely will never forget.

I drove a limousine in L. A. For a few years and I picked up hundreds of celebrities from actors, musicians, athletes and other famous people. Quite simply, Selma was the best. It was a bit surreal because I had watched Legally Blonde the night before and knew her by face but not by name. I knew she was a good actress because I both hated her and then loved her in that movie.

She was with two friends and we were going to some kind of press junket in Malibu. After waiting for them she came back and gave me all these goodies she got for showing up which included some designer sunglasses. Then after that they wanted to stop at a seaside restaurant where much to my surprise Selma invited me to join them. Here I got to know her and she was so down to earth and intelligent and gave me great advice on acting and show business.

When I dropped them off even though the tip was included she gave me a very generous cash tip on top of the swag and free meal. I won't forget her warm personality and I am sad she is going through this but it couldn't happen to a stronger person. Love you Selma!
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6/10
Great Film Ruined By Horrid Narration
shkru2 December 2021
The story is worth the view but they couldve done without the horrific monotone commentary. Unwatchable at times. Great Film Ruined By Horrid Narration.
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