8 Broken Hearts is a moving documentary in which eight people from completely different walks of life bare their souls and discuss the difficulties they have faced in life, and the way in which they have learnt to deal with their own pain. It is a unique and brilliant portrayal of humanity. These people have all had completely different experiences, and yet they all share the same feelings of pain and sadness. Although their pain may never really go away, they describe how they have learnt to accommodate it as best they can.
We meet Rose, Patrick and Amber, who have all dealt with the traumatic death of a parent or loved one. John, Erica and Susan reflect on the difficulties they faced growing up with alcoholic or drug addicted parents. Tony opens up about being gay in a family where that would have been unacceptable, and Rico tells us about growing up as a ‘fat kid’, who was bullied by his peers and hit by his mother.
Its interview-come-therapy session style makes the experience all the more personal. We don’t see re-enactments of what they are describing, in fact we don’t see anything except the person. It is just us, listening to them, hearing their stories. It is a stark reminder of how everyone, no matter who they are or where they’re from, goes through some monumental struggles in their lives. It also shows wonderfully the power that we as humans have to overcome these troubles. These people have learnt from their own hardships, whether that is to be a better parent than the ones they had, or to appreciate life’s gifts more than they would had they not seen such dark times.
Although it is sad, and some of the stories might have you welling up, it is also a very hopeful portrayal of the strength of the human soul. It can withstand pretty much anything life throws at us, and this is comforting to see. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys hearing other people’s stories, their trials and tribulations, and how they dealt with these hardships. It’s simple, beautiful and brave.
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