Written by: James Purpura | Directed by: James Purpura | Genre: Documentary
Steph and James, two people who through no fault of their own have lived very traumatic lives. From childhood into adulthood, these are two people that just had a rough go. From Steph's childhood sexual assault/molestation kicking off a life of self-doubt and self-sabotage, to James right off the bat being humiliated by a teacher over a learning disability, we instantly feel for these individuals. Of course, for James, the humiliation from an authority figure, in front of his entire class fires off a chain reaction beginning with his classmates, which continues for many, many years. As it turns out, James had dyslexia and Steph just got preyed upon; as I said, in both cases no fault of their own.
As much as this film is about these two individuals, their story is only a part of this film. Perception: Seeing is Not Believing, is an information documentary. The information circles around self-esteem, emotional embracement, self-help, and getting help, and as the title hints, perception. Hosted by Lillian Garcia, at first glance this film looks an awful lot like your favorite television evangelist will pop up at any time, or some dude is going to pop up trying to sell a Slap-Chop. But this isn't that, and this film isn't selling or preaching anything... except what it claims on the box. Once you get past that initial feeling, you'll find that James Purpura's documentary is not only good... it's excellent.
You can only see what you believe to be possible. A quote that has stuck with me, and this film is full of stuff like this. Perception: Seeing is Believing examines how we're raised, how we process information, and the impact everything has on us. From assuming things to the meanings of actions and inactions. For James and Steph, life started tough as I'm sure you've guessed. But, without giving things away, there is a connection between the two... their lives connect. But their stories, as I've said, are only part of this film. They act as a bridge between expert testimonies on perception, self-esteem, etc. What this film really offers is information, tips, and hope to those who need it. That message of hope? It's a huge part of this production.
This film has so much to offer. It plays out beautifully and also happens to be beautifully produced. The idea and general narrative of this film will be no surprise, but the message is what will hook you. Maybe the fact this film looks so good is what gives it that infomercial feel at first, but once that's passed, you'll be thankful this is a pro production. Because once you are in, you're in - for the long haul. If I had one small complaint? Perception: Seeing is Not Believing is a little long, but only just. This may technically be a self-help or motivational film, but it's one done right. Highly recommended and thank you for reading. Four and a half stars.
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