Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Review: Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons

Release date: April 5, 2020
Running time: 90 minutes
Starring: Cindy Casey, Steven R. Feldman, Harry Quinn Schone

Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons is a documentary about several people with a rare skin condition / disease called Morgellons.  The problem is that it is not a disease that is officially recognized by the CDC. Because of this and the general lack of research on this disease, many patients are misdiagnosed or ignored as this life affected disease causes very real, very painful issues.  

This movie does a really good job of framing the problem and building from it.  Morgellons disease has a few characteristic symptoms, but many patients have differing severity of symptoms or some but not all of them.  And, many of these patients have had to fight against doctors or go to doctor after doctor before finally finding a sympathetic one.  The documentary does a great job of putting on a compelling case.  At least with the way that it is presented, these individuals do seem to have a common, life-altering disease that has some characteristic signs including skin lesions and strange fibers within their skin.  It is a very surreal experience to see these in the film and it is something that is so unique to this disease that it seems surprising that it has never been looked at.  This is part of the overall theme of this film, that individuals sometimes have to fight against the medical establishment to be heard and to have their very real conditions taken seriously.  And it also highlights the flaws in the medical system through these patient's experiences.  

And on top of presenting a compelling case, the film does highlight several individuals with the disease and explores their journey.  It does a great job of framing their backstory and how this disease has affected their lives.  It also highlights some Morgellons-friendly medical individuals, and some not so friendly ones.  It jumps around to various locales as it follows these people, and in doing so has some really beautiful camera work.  Seeing Austin or San Francisco before going into the actual lives of these people was a nice treat.  And the documentary also does a good job of building the story; it has followed these individuals for a while and provides some exciting moments where new aspects of the disease are found or new proof is established.  And, most importantly, this documentary is informative and entertaining.  By showing so many individuals and locales, it keeps the documentary interesting and the viewer engaged, while also presenting a lot of medical information in an easily digestible format.  

Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons presents a compelling case about this unrecognized condition and informs its viewers while highlighting the very real impact this has had on the lives of those suffering from it.

Watch it.

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