- This woman said Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 election gave her PTSD, and people are furious Monday 6:45 PM
- Vanessa Bryant files a lawsuit against helicopter company after deaths of Kobe and Gianna Monday 5:49 PM
- Michael Jordan cries at Kobe Bryant memorial, jokes about creating a new meme Monday 4:43 PM
- Woman’s boyfriend says it’s him or the frogs—Reddit says choose the frogs Monday 4:22 PM
- Greyhound buses will no longer allow Border Patrol checks Monday 4:04 PM
- ‘Eat Them To Defeat Them’ is oddly about vegetables—not about eating the rich Monday 3:26 PM
- Marco Rubio mocked for filming talking while driving socialism critique Monday 2:54 PM
- QAnon believer asks Trump’s campaign press secretary who Q is Monday 2:36 PM
- Octavia Spencer has discovered ‘Ma’ memes—and she can’t get enough Monday 2:09 PM
- Meet the anti-Greta Thunberg, a climate ‘skeptic’ funded by the oil industry Monday 1:12 PM
- Harvey Weinstein convicted of rape and sexual assault Monday 12:56 PM
- Senator calls Facebook’s current election disinformation efforts ‘inadequate’ in letter Monday 12:11 PM
- The Phillie Phanatic mascot unveils a slimmer makeover Monday 11:56 AM
- YouTuber threatened with arrest after rapping about being a girl from Mecca Monday 11:55 AM
- Video shows flat-Earther ‘daredevil’ crashing to death after homemade rocket fails Monday 11:49 AM
Imagine living a life full of excitement and curiosity, free to do what you please, that one day comes to a crashing halt. Suddenly you are bedridden, unable to do anything besides watch the world go by. It’s like being tied down by restraints only you can see. To outsiders, it looks like you’re just lazy. You go through a battery of exams and receive a shoulder shrug instead of a treatment. Their lives, as well as their family’s, are turned upside down. That is what the people who suffer from myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, go through. It’s the subject of Jennifer Brea’s stirring documentary Unrest, now available on Netflix.
Unrest is an unflinching look at a disease that overwhelms both the stricken and the medical community. Brea gives viewers a first-person look at the harsh realities of CFS. It’s frustrating and isolating to witness, but it’s vitally informative to witness. One of Brea’s main goals is to help fight the stigma that people suffering from CFS aren’t really sick. Her perspective is invaluable. She shows herself at some of her lowest points, laying on the ground and crying, unable to pick herself up. It’s harrowing. But it’s not a play for pity.
“I feel like a broken battery stuck at 10 percent,” Brea says at one point, and it’s a strong summation of the point she’s making. While the medical community has struggled to come up with a way to fight CFS, another key part of the battle is public awareness. News footage reveals people comparing something very real to something that generates ridicule like affluenza. As with many cognitive disorders, the lack of visible symptoms is something of a roadblock to empathy and understanding.
As Brea meets other people with CFS and learns their stories, she finds something that has eluded her: hope. While the struggle to find a cure has no end in sight, people are finding ways to make the best of their situation. Through activism, or FaceTime calls to stay involved, or reckoning with the damage the disease can wreak on a family, the documentary finds a hopeful note to end on.
Still not sure what to watch on Netflix? Here are our guides for the absolute best movies on Netflix, must-see Netflix original series and movies, and the comedy specials guaranteed to make you laugh.
Eddie Strait is a member of the Austin Film Critic Association. His reviews focus primarily on streaming entertainment, with an emphasis on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other on-demand services.