Face 2 Face
Filmmaker Katherine Brooks - best known for directing a number of reality television series such as "Meet the Barkers," "The Osbournes," and "The Real World" - turns the camera on herself in the riveting, if not confused, documentary "Face 2 Face."
After recovering from surgery (and a suicidal overdose), Brooks realized that despite having 5000 Facebook friends no one had come to visit her. Despite the surgery, she hadn’t even had a hug in a month. Severely depressed, she absently posted an idea on her Facebook status. "The first 50 people who say yes I am coming to meet you face to face and making a movie out of it." And so begins her journey of making real connections with real people whom she’s never met.
While fifty people is a lot of ground to cover in one film, most get the montage treatment while a select few get significant airtime. Those include a woman whose best friend is dying from lung cancer and wants her friend immortalized on film; A shy, reclusive girl who doesn’t remember the last time she’s been hugged; A therapist who has struggled with her own suicidal thoughts for years; A woman who was trapped in a burning van and saved by a "guardian angel;" And a childhood friend of Brooks that wants to offer some closure on a particularly painful part of their history.
The idea of "Face 2 Face" is intriguing because as we can all relate to the fact that just in the last decade, we’ve all come to find ourselves with our noses in our computers, iPhones, and iPads. Real human connection is becoming a thing of the past. It "seems" like connection, and in some ways it is, but a true intimate connection it is not. And for many of us, we have a number of Facebook friends we don’t really know and the idea of driving 11,000 miles around the country to meet them is fascinating.
While the film is, indeed, fascinating, the emphasis of human connection vs a cyber one gets lost when the focus of the film becomes Brooks’ struggle with depression and an addiction to nicotine and Xanax. Her journey to establish her self-esteem, find her self-worth, and connect with herself is what "Face 2 Face" becomes. And while it is interesting to watch Brooks become more invested in herself, the film I signed up to see ends up not existing. I found myself wanted to know more about the people she visited. I wanted to know their reason for even being friends with Brooks on Facebook. These are the stories that are captivating. When that socially awkward girl admits she hasn’t been hugged in a long time, my heart broke. I wanted to know more - about her family; about her fears of intimacy.
While Brooks is an interesting character, I was more invested in the personalities she was meeting along the way. Instead, I got a partly self-indulgent film about a filmmaker trying to come to terms with her past and her problems.
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