Back in the summer, I saw Youth Knows No Pain at CineVegas. At the time, I hoped that it would be available on DVD in time to be eligible for the Notable Videos Committee. I thought it was a great film about body image and the length people will go to in order to live up to preconceived notions of beauty. One of the most engaging parts of the film is the way it balances a personal story with facts.
I bring this up in a review about Beauty Mark: Body Image & The Race for Perfection because it is a very similar film. Unfortunately, I did not find it as engaging as Youth Knows No Pain. I think if I had not seen Youth, I would have liked Beauty Mark more than I did because it is a very good documentary by Diane Israel who is a psychotherapist and athlete. Like Mitch McCabe’s Youth, Beauty Mark is a very personal film since both directors are also the main characters in each film.
Both filmmakers explore how their young lives affected their images of their adult selves. Israel focuses on growing up as a competitive athlete. McCabe’s father was a plastic surgeon. Whereas Israel keeps the focus on her own life, Youth Knows No Pain goes beyond the personal with a series of interviews with other people talking about their self-image.
The shorter educational version of Beauty Mark was nominated for the committee and I wonder if I would find the longer version more interesting.
Although I feel that Youth Knows No Pain is a better film, I do think Beauty Mark has plenty to recommend it. This would be a great film to show in a classroom to begin a conversation about body image.