Review: 'Introducing, Selma Blair' Funny, Relatable

by Kevin Taft

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday October 15, 2021

Introducing, Selma Blair
Introducing, Selma Blair  (Source:Discover+/Strand)

Heartbreaking, touching, and inspiring, the new documentary "Introducing, Selma Blair" shows us what it means to wrangle doubt, terror, and determination as one actress faces an uncertain, but hopeful future.

When actress Selma Blair ("Cruel Intentions") was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she immediately let the world in on her diagnosis. Known for her tough and sassy on-screen presence, Blair's real-life persona isn't far off from the characters she plays on-screen.

Some of us have watched the actress's career develop over the years, and although she never became a superstar, we weren't prepared for her best and biggest role yet: Herself. While other actors might shy away from sharing their struggles with illness, Blair practically shouted it from the rooftops. "Why hide it?" she figured. People would start to notice things were off with her, like her pallor and balance, and rather than have tabloids think she was drunk or on something, she decided to let the world know what was happening, warts and all.

And while we've seen her struggles and strength in various articles, interviews, and public appearances (she and her cane are now iconic), we've never seen her like this.

As the film opens, Blair attempts (successfully) to put on makeup and make her way to a chair for her first interview. However, within minutes, she struggles to speak and finds herself embarrassed, exhausted, and unable to continue. Director Rachel Fleit's decision to begin the film this way does two things: It portrays the wit and self-deprecating humor of Selma Blair, but also shows just how much pain she faces every day.

The documentary encompasses a lot of themes. It's the story of a 40-something woman dealing with a debilitating disease that leaves her sometimes unable to speak or walk. It chronicles her treatment options and the choices she chooses to pursue, some successful and some not.

In another way, the film is about a woman trying to hold it together for her son, who hasn't totally grasped what is happening to his mother, and what might happen in the future. It also shows how the father of her son still supports them both during what is clearly a terribly difficult time.

But it's also a film about transparency.

So often people in the public eye hide anything that doesn't make them appear completely put together at all times. Sure, we get the People Magazine "they're just like us" moments of our favorite celebrities, but here, Blair lets us see it all: The good, the sad, the gross, the scary, and the triumphant. There are no easy answers for Blair as her future is still uncertain, but she faces every day and every challenge with such honesty and resolve, it's impossible not to be touched and inspired.

The film doesn't leave us with any sort of final beat. There is no death. There is no recovery. There is just a funny, relatable woman fighting to stay in a world she sometimes had given up on. Her disease gave her the drive to continue living and loving, and by sharing this with the world she proves she can inspire others to do the same.

While a great actress in her own right, her greatest legacy will be how she faced the impossible with truth, dignity, and a lot of laughs.

"Introducing, Selma Blair" opens in theaters on Oct 15th and launches on Discovery+ October 21st.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.