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SXSW Review: ‘Introducing, Selma Blair’

March 23, 2021Ben MK

Best known for such films as Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions and Hellboy, Selma Blair is someone who, by her own admission, never fit the traditional Hollywood mold. In 2018, however, the then-46-year-old actress took on what was by far her most challenging and difficult role yet — that of someone dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. Only this time it was no movie, it was real life.

A condition in which the cells in one's immune system attack the brain and spinal cord, Multiple Sclerosis is a disease for which there is no cure. However, with stem cell treatment, it is possible for someone suffering from MS to be able to live a relatively normal life. Consequently, Introducing, Selma Blair follows Blair as she undergoes the various stages of the experimental medical treatment, leaving her 7-year-old son Arthur with his father so she can travel from Los Angeles to Chicago for the procedure. What follows will be an arduous several weeks, including five days of intensive chemotherapy, but as director Rachel Fleit shows, Blair's sense of humor remains staunchly intact despite the emotional and physical hardships she must endure along the way.

Make no mistake, this is no feel-good movie. But whether or not you're familiar with Blair's acting, this emotionally raw and oftentimes heartbreaking portrait of a woman coping with disease and motherhood — while also coming to terms with her troubled relationship with her own mother — should not be overlooked.

Introducing, Selma Blair screens under the Documentary Feature Competition section at the 2021 South by Southwest Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 29 min.

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