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Stephanie Pearson’s Killer Performance & PTSD Lessons from “Recovery” (2019) — Movie Review

Today’s movie is an interesting one: it’s called Recovery (2019) and it’s about a group of individuals at a treatment center who are trying to overcome and conquer addiction.

Those who are high in social intelligence or feel empathy on a deep level will find it hard to watch this movie at certain points.

On the surface, Recovery is a simple horror movie; a who-done-it, if you will. Characters start dying off and we’re not sure who’s committing the murders.

It’s a typical slashser film on the surface; nothing special, but you have to look deeper. There’s more than meets the eye.

Recovery tells the story of a woman named Ronnie (portrayed by Stephanie Pearson) who has to go through one of the darkest fates, that of an outcast rejected by society, and even those who are supposed to help her. As a war veteran turned heroin addict, Ronnie is sent to Longview Addiction Treatment Center, where she will spend her days attending group therapy sessions whilst working on her struggles with addiction while also pursuing individual therapy. She’s reluctant, though, and her attitude clearly shows it from the beginning. “Why would I get clean?” She asks. “Heroin takes better care of me than the V.A. ever did!” She continues.

The Outcast & Second Chances

Ronnie’s first group therapy session goes poorly. As one of the members of the group begins sharing what’s on their mind, you can tell that Ronnie is triggered by what’s being said. She begins to disassociate heavily. Ronnie interrupts the member by standing up abruptly, but her request to be excused is denied. Annoyed, Ronnie asks “How much more of her shit do we have to listen to?!” At this point, you can tell that Ronnie is pretty angry. The lights begin to flicker and a bloody man appears in front of Ronnie for a split second. She punches the man out of anger, soon waking up from a blackout, realizing that she’d been violently beating the member of the group who’d been talking.

You then cut to a scene where Dr. Jessica Barnes and Dr. Taylor are talking about the incident. “Her staying here and out of jail is contingent on her behavior.” Dr. Taylor exlaims, hinting that he’s going to call the authorities to have them take her away (jail — they have a 0-tolerance policy for violence). Dr. Jessica won’t have it, though. She empathizes with Ronnie, saying “She’s a vet! She served for this country. Then she comes home from Afghanistan. Three tours. A year home after tour 2 and then back again. They go over there to fight for us. They see unspeakable things, they do unspeakable things. And when they come back severely psychologically damaged, we think it’s not our problem! Like they’re these monsters to be banished from society!”

There’s a lot of depth to the conversation being had between the two doctors. War vets turn to drugs because it’s easier to live with the pain when it’s all they’ve known for so long. The person who came home is not the same person who went into war. They’ve become something else.

Soon, you realize that the man Ronnie saw earlier had something to do with what happened during the war. She deeply feels regret and guilt for something that happened out there in the warzone, something Dr. Jessica knows was not her fault, trying to convince her of the fact.

You can’t let past failures prevent future success.

There’s this one scene where a patient walks into Dr. Taylor’s office wanting to leave. When he asks her why, she says that she can’t put her girlfriend through it all; she always needed her messes to be cleaned up. (I perceived it as though she thought her girlfriend deserves better). She didn’t think she had it in her to recover and conquer whatever she was there to heal from. Dr. Taylor responds “Why do you want to leave? You can’t let past failures prevent future success. Don’t you think you owe it to her, owe it to yourself to do better? To try? Wouldn’t it be worse if you quit?”

A great lesson; when you start recovery, there’s often pushback you must resist. You may not think you’re capable of coming out of your crucible stronger for having survived, but you’ve survived before which means you can do it again. So, whatever your past failure, don’t allow it to ruin the potential for great success. Just don’t quit when you’ve come so far.

Overall, it was really entertaining but if you watch closely, there’s so much to learn about PTSD, recovery and what war veterans and addicts go through.

By the end, you see Ronnie regain her will to live and fight through the night. Will she survive? Watch the movie to find out!

A 5/5 in my book! Stephanie Pearson killed it with her portrayal of Ronnie, which just made the whole film even better than it already was.

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