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Embrace: NZIFF Review

Embrace: NZIFF Review

Much like fellow Aussie Damon Gameau and his quest against the undeclared sugars in our diet, Body Positive movement founder Taryn Brumfitt is hoping to make a change.

With this brisk energetic documentary, Brumfitt's desire to shake up the way we see ourselves first and foremost won't come as a surprise to many who feel the fashion industry and society itself is in need of a change.

They say every picture is worth a 1000 words, and in Brumfitt's case, it was a picture that sparked a 1000 stories - predominantly to her in-box. Posting a non-traditional after image of her body after having had three kids and placing it side-by-side a picture of her winning a body building competition before, her social media was inundated with positivity - and negativity.

And deciding last minute to reject a cosmetic procedure over worrying what message that would send to her young family, Brumfitt decided to do something more positive.

With crowd-funding involved, Brumfitt decided there was something further to explore here and it was time to take on the perception of women in the western world - and more importantly,  empower those looking in the mirror that there's nothing wrong with what they see.

Complete with her red-rimmed glasses and bubbly effervescence, Brumfitt's world trip sees her frankness and openness charm, and she never steers into overt lecturing, preferring instead to let people speak for themselves and consequently inspire her audience.

There's no denying there will be relative whoops of delight when she places all her societally perceived flaws on display with a frank openness that's hard to disparage or mock. In among decrying that she had nipples the size of dinner plates and seeing a cosmetic surgeon claim her body could be enhanced in certain ways when there's nothing inherently wrong with it, Brumfitt's honesty and universal relatability will win over an audience.

The pacy doco may lack some commentary or riposte from the fashion industry it so readily looks to accuse (much like Gameau's That Sugar Film lacked any official response) but given its crowd-funding nature and its inherent positive desire to inspire women and everyday people, it seems only right that the stories and screen time is devoted to those who make up our society rather than those who photoshop it into oblivion dishing out excuses as to why it's valid.

While talking to the likes of celebs Ricki Lake, Amanda de Cadenet to model Stefania Ferrario all have merit, the true strength of the doco comes from time spent with Turia Pitt whose life was changed by a marathon and a bush fire that ravaged her looks and a skinny gaunt girl called Tina, whose tearful declarations will do more to force anger over perpetuating the stereotypes.

Peppered with vox pops over flaws from everyday people further fuels the fire that many are unnecessarily unhappy with their self-worth in a society obsessed with celebs and selfies. Brumfitt doesn't need to over-egg this pudding, the evidence in the body image debate is already overwhelming based on her meet and greets throughout.

One suspects as far as Brumfitt's concerned, even the spark of discussion is a major win for what's important - and Brumfitt's authenticity and entry into the body movement debate may grow the swelling feeling of getting back to what matters in life and not buying into what the social media obsessed world says is important. Presented in non-didactic fashion and with a pace that's energetic rather than lecturing, it's easy to see why it's helping galvanise the body image debate.

There's no denying that Embrace is a rallying cry, a genial non-polemic call from the floor to remember what's actually important in life, and to self-worth. If it inspires an epiphany in anyone viewing or sparks a conversation over perception, then that's no small victory whatsoever.


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