I’m not going to review UNREST. But if I were to review UNREST, I would say first that as someone who walked into this film a skeptic toward chronic fatigue syndrome, my voice should not be included in this conversation. Unless you are contributing to the understanding of this condition, you are not helping and you should sit in the back.
I must also first say that UNREST changed my view. It didn’t get me all the way over to full believer, but that doesn’t god damn matter. What does matter is the fact that people are suffering the world over and because they are women, no one cares why.
The field of study of the immune system is criminally underpopulated. No one researches immune disorders, no one researches immune conditions. Unless they manage to affect men, they are dismissed as hysteria–and have been dismissed as hysteria for centuries, plural. This isn’t fair. This isn’t right. This isn’t just. And this isn’t how we should act as human beings toward our fellow human beings.
I would also say, first, that Jennifer Brea, a person who lives with chronic fatigue herself, is an inspiration to anyone, be they suffering from an invisible disability or completely able-bodied. Her film moved me. Her film touched me. She has a deft hand and a keen eye for human emotion. Would I like further follow up on the possibility that CFS in all its incarnations is a result of faulty immune systems? Of course I would. But I know from UNREST that it is not her fault that she doesn’t show further research in these areas.
It is because there is simply no further research to show.
Insisting on being presented with evidence of an illness which renders its sufferers missing in plain sight is entitlement. It’s a derailing tactic. It’s bullshit. It’s not Jennifer Brea’s job to test blood samples from millions of women and men the world over. That’s the job of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, who elected to go skiing in Colorado instead of research the illness they’d been sent to study after a cursory glance at the medical histories of the patients who had been diagnosed.
It’s Jennifer Brea’s passion and elected occupation to communicate the nature of her suffering. To tell us how it affects herself, her husband, her connections to her friends, her ambitions, and the life she wanted to have. She has lost her life and been made to watch as the world moves on without her. She’s entitled to a home remedy binge. She’s entitled to her emotion. She doesn’t need to have it questioned by anyone.
Jennifer Brea has done while bedridden something that able-bodied and able-minded people the world over struggle to do regularly. She has not only done it at all, she has done it with aplomb. So if you, like me, were skeptical about CFS and its sufferers just like people were skeptical about HIV/AIDS, schizophrenia, and multiple sclerosis, please follow my example and shut the fuck up. People who know more than you are talking.
I’m not going to review UNREST. Except I think I just did. THREE AND A HALF STARS