Move Me (2022) Documentary Review – A deeply personal film that sparks empathy

An intimate film that ignites compassion

After the show Move Me, a specific scene is ingrained in the memory — one overhead image of Kelsey Peterson as she lays on her back and moves her arms dancing and sliding them over her head. The energy in her eyes shows the significance of this moment to her. It’s beautiful.

Move Me is an intimate documentary. The film examines Kelsey Peterson, a professional dancer, and her struggles after a tragic accident left her with paralysis all the way down to her chest. The documentary examines two aspects — the way she is able to return to dance, and the decision she has to make regarding participating in an experimental clinical trial.

Moving Me appears more like a documentary, more like a private memoir. In this case, Peterson is not just the subject, but she is also the director and writer. Peterson isn’t just telling her story, she’s making choices about how she tells it. The way she tells her story is in the most authentic and raw manner as is possible. The majority of the film conveys the feeling of getting an inside look at Peterson’s life as if it were in real time. Conversations with friends, intimate moments, and footage taken from old videotapes are brought together to create a unique impression of her life. There’s nothing to worry about here, just the space to feel empathy.

Peterson doesn’t shun the reality of life also. Peterson talks about sex and having to go to the bathroom. We also see an assistant for personal care putting underwear on and even a napkin to her. It’s not about observing the difficulties disabled people face, but rather seeing the way the world has been designed to be challenging for them.

Despite its focus on the body, The film and camera work do not feel intrusive. It is instead embraced by Peterson herself and she is openly sharing her personal life with us. Peterson doesn’t put any barriers between them and is open about her most intimate fears. Self-love and guilt as well as the issue of who she is and what defines her — Peterson confronts the whole thing on camera, and for that, we should be grateful to her for her courage.

However, the film doesn’t draw one’s attention at once. Its pace can be slow, and the narrative is somewhat tangled. But, the waiting is worth it when things are rearranged in the final. The documentary ultimately depicts Peterson with all the complexities. It flows effortlessly through her fears and desires and her complicated connection to her parents as well as with dance, and at the end of the film, viewers are able to completely comprehend her. This film doesn’t offer much educational or enthralling but it’s an exercise in the spirit of empathy. In the midst of disability-related media, which tries to put people into boxes, Kelsey Peterson offers up her shoes and says this is what it feels like.


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