Cinephile № 826 “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open”

Nathan Box
2 min readApr 17, 2020

Recommendation: 3/5 Stars, STREAM

Plot: “After a chance encounter on the street, a woman tries to encourage a pregnant domestic abuse victim to seek help.” -IMDB

Review: For my 19th film of the 2019 AFI Film Fest, I went looking for a challenge and another distinct indie film that can only be found at a festival such as this. My search brought me to “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open” a movie about a chance encounter. Our story begins with Alla traveling down the street when out of nowhere she witnesses domestic abuse in action. Rather than being a mere bystander, she decides to take Rosie into her care. This opens up a story about pregnancy, survival, abuse, victimhood, and what it means to offer someone help who isn’t ready to receive it.

Rosie doesn’t trust easily particularly when it comes to strangers. Despite multiple attempts, Alla isn’t able to get her to share all of the facts around her predicament. Naturally, Rosie is fearful for herself, her abuser, and her unborn child. Tirelessly reframing and much debate, Alla convinces Rosie to visit a safe house for battered women. In a movie about such a huge subject, this feels like the first win. But save your applause! Nothing about this film is easy and neither is the journey to safety.

After a few twists and turns, Rosie and Alla arrive at the safe house. Again, this will feel like another victory. What comes next will be hard for lots of us to understand, especially if we have never been in this situation. At times, it can feel like a debate and protection for an abuser. You will find yourself pleading with Rosie. You will also find yourself excited and disappointed. You will also find yourself longing for some sense of closure. In these situations, none of these things come easily and that is the overall takeaway from this film.

Be good to each other,