Directed by Sara Bordo, we meet a 26-year-old motivational speaker and author Lizzie Velazquez. She is diagnosed with a rare congenital disease that thwarts her body from gaining weight. Soaking wet she weighs 58 pounds and can only see out of one eye. To make matters worse, she was subjected to bullying in childhood and even today she is bullied by random people. The best word I can think about is “resilient” because she is powerfully intelligent with an amazing and beguiling sense of humor. Velazquez turned for the best when she was seventeen. Surfing on YouTube, she came across video footage titled The World’s Ugliest Woman, and it referred to her.
What could she do? Turn the other cheek and continue avoiding the foreseeable looks and caustic backhanded remarks. What would you do if you met her for the first time? Normally, people react and reflect on their reaction and correct themselves, so they can see her beyond her ugliness. Yet, there is a hit of guilt and even shame once they recover their humanity. Under those conditions is exactly the way Velazquez approached her talks and wrote her books. Watching the documentary, one can’t help but admire her rare patience and understanding.
A Brave Heart follows her transformation from a budding victim to an inspiring personality. Bordo weaves the story of Velasquez’s journey, starting with a series of eloquent and expressive posts on her own YouTube channel, an autobiography, and presentation at TEDxAustinWomen discussing self-image that circulated quickly in discussions and on the Internet.
Bordo garnishes the documentary with interviews, home videos, and footage of her lectures. We journey with Velasquez’s as she confronts her health issues, a condition continued undiagnosed for years, and she proceeds with being directed to never-ending tests and medical exams.
All in all, don’t expect an immediate resolve like a fairy tale. Velazquez still has her plight, though she has notoriety and success. Not all oddities or freaks have such luck. Let’s just love one another as we are not our bodies but shapeless souls with a common goal – be happy with who we are and love one another.