55 user 43 critic
When Harvard Ph.D. student Jennifer Brea is struck down by a fever that leaves her bedridden, she sets out on a virtual journey to document her story as she fights a disease that medicine forgot.


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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

7 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
... Herself
Omar Wasow ... Himself
Jessica l e Taylor ... Herself
Samuel Bearman ... Himself
Ruby Taylor ... Herself
Colin Taylor ... Himself
Kate Taylor ... Herself
Paul Cheney ... Himself
Lee-Ray Denton ... Herself
Casie Jackson ... Herself
Darwin Jackson ... Himself
Randy Denton ... Himself
Jessica Harden ... Herself
Annabel Jackson ... Herself
Sawyer Jackson ... Himself


When Harvard PhD student Jennifer Brea is struck down at 28 by a fever that leaves her bedridden, doctors tell her it's "all in her head." Determined to live, she turns her camera on herself and her community, a hidden world of millions confined to their homes and bedrooms by ME, commonly called chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Official Sites:

Official Website




Release Date:

22 September 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Canary in a Coal Mine  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,607, 24 September 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$40,081, 12 October 2017
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Did You Know?


Normally a writer, Jennifer Brea took to filming her disease as it left her completely without the energy to write. Being able to record on her iPhone made this an easy proposition. See more »


Jennifer Brea: It's always tempting to look at the the past as something strange and distant. And to say "thank God we know better now"
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User Reviews

Blow you out of the water good
31 January 2017 | by See all my reviews

One of the most compelling documentaries I've ever seen. From moment one ("Princeton Veterinary Hospital") Jen and Omar reel you into the mad, new life Jen's illness has shaped for them. The movie goes beyond educating people about a poorly-understood illness. Instead, it vividly recreates the reality of Jen and the other patients, and it does so with such humor, humanity, and loving-kindness that you feel as though you know all of these people and are deeply invested in their small triumphs. An absolute must for any documentary devotee, and anyone who struggles with chronic illness or is struggling to understand the world of someone who does.

I know this is full of superlatives, but I can't help it. Ugly crying was involved when I saw this story, but it somehow manages to be uplifting instead of despairing. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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