EMBRACE (film) review
by Cynthia Miller

Documentary “Embrace” – Film Review

I first heard about “Embrace” a couple of months ago when it crossed my Facebook page.  I was propelled to see it because it appeared to carry my lifelong mission and message…feeling beautiful at any size.   I went to Gathr.us and immediately checked to see if “Embrace” was showing in my area.  I was sorely disappointed to see it was only screening in the bigger cities, like LA and San Francisco.  Then, I was drawn to these words in print “Gathr a screening”.  I excitedly investigated and discovered that I could bring this documentary to me, and to my people…the women who need the message of self-love.  

Up to this point, I had never seen this documentary so it was a little intimidating scheduling a screening, not fully knowing how much of it I could endorse as a movie captain (the name given to screening coordinators).  I am happy to report, that I embrace the entire message. Activist, Taryn Brumfitt is absolutely delightful and a wonderful example of living in the greatest version of yourself.  Her story of body hated after childbirth, to striving for body perfection, to readjusting her priorities and embracing self-love is truly inspiring and completely vulnerable.  

In my work, I have faced some fear as I become more visible with my message of embracing and loving our bodies just as they are.  There will always be someone challenging your message and condemning your stance.  Taryn has faced that very abuse as she circulated her original before and after photo of her transformation.  Unlike most before and after photos, Taryn’s first photo was her “perfect” body-building photo, followed by her after photo that represented a beautiful, average woman’s body.  What you can’t see in the before photo is the emotional pain she carried, but it is clear the confidence and bliss she possesses in the after photo.  The two photos represent a beautiful journey of transformation.  One that cannot be taken away by the gain of a few pounds, or the shifting of middle age weight.  Her transformation is here to stay!   So, what abuse did Taryn face?  Many men started making comments on Facebook…very crude comments.  One went as far as to say he would “do her in a heartbeat” in the before photo, but pitied her husband in the after.  Taryn represents courage on so many levels and it was delightful to exhibit the next part of her journey through the creation of this documentary.  

Take tissues when you go to this screening, because there WILL be something that touches a pain spot in your lifelong journey.  It doesn’t matter what size you are.  There will always be things people have said, ways people have acted, or personal beliefs you have taken in that have caused you pain.  This documentary opens the Pandora box.  Be prepared to ponder this subject for weeks following.  It is real…it is deep.

I had understood this documentary would touch on the body image issue, but I was surprised that it went broader than weight.  Sorry for the pun.  I couldn’t resist.  This film challenged each of us to redefine beauty.  Our face is the first thing people see.  Our face, along with our body, is what society measures our beauty by.  What if by societal standards, you are not beautiful?   The film takes a glimpse into the lives of three women who are challenging that beauty myth:  a burn victim, a brain tumor victim, and a woman who battled extreme facial hair and surrendered to its fate.  Each woman redefined the word “victim” and began to embrace their personal beauty.  And now they challenge us too!!!

I always knew the dirty secrets of the modeling industry, how they encourage extreme thinness to the point of eating disorders.  I preach all the time, the damage that has been done to women in regards to those edited and, yes, distorted photos.  But, little did I know how wide spread it is that clothing designers have refused to attach their names to larger sized clothing.  Abercrombie and Fitch is just one recent example of this discrimination.  Yes to “Embrace” for bringing this truth to the light!

Because of this powerful message, many attendees asked if they could bring their daughters.  Having not seen it yet, I could not give solid advice on that.  The “message” needs to be seen by ALL young girls, but one particular section highlights visuals of several female vulvas (I know that is redundant) to show that each women is born different, yet we strive to be the same.  This visual would not be suitable for young, young girls.  Another screening recommended it for ages 12 on up, but I would encourage it at that age only if you have a very open relationship with your daughter.

One of my biggest surprises to this screening was that I had a hand-full of men there.  I had marketed solely to women because that is my message and my audience in my work.  Several of them were there to support their wives, while a couple were there to be educated and make a difference in the world.  An entire separate movement is happening within the “Embrace” documentary as men are being challenged to attend the screening and create change in how men love and view women in this country and world.  

I am thrilled beyond measure that I was a part of this movement.  This film has been life-changing for me.  Not only did it touch a very sensitive and important topic in the livelihood of women, but it was absolutely delightful and entertaining.  I was not bored for a moment.  It is rare when you can be entertained and challenged at the same time.  What a wonderful use of my time and YOUR time.  If you have not seen it yet, or you want to see it again, it will be coming to the area again at the following screenings.  Be sure to purchase your ticket(s) online.  It is the ONLY way to see the documentary.  Visit the links below:

November 28, 2016 – Carmarillo, CA     

December 12, 2016 – Elkhart, IN        

January, 2017 TBD – San Luis Obispo, CA

Cynthia Miller
The Curvy Woman’s Confidence and Image Coach