Starring – Adam Shalzi, Chris Ruetten, Nancy Wagner, Wesley Scott, Eric Hansen, Chronicle Ganawah, Karisa Bruin, Michael Surles, Michael Nguyen
Directed by Andy Bosnak
When I was a kid and would watch movies in complete awe and wonder at how magical and wonderful and powerful they were, I never thought in a million years that one day I would have actual, real filmmakers send me their films (yes, me!) just so I can write about them (really, me?), and sometimes these films that get sent to me (damn right I get films sent to ME!) leave me in awe and wonder. So It Goes is another example of a film that was sent to me recently that has left me in awe and wonder. And it is a film that also hits way too close to home for me because it is about child abuse.
The first half of my life has been a rather difficult one full of childhood abuse and severe neglect that followed me well into adulthood, and only now at 45, am I finally climbing my way out of the hell that the abuse put me in. Movies were pretty much all I had as a kid to escape the abuse, saving me from my nightmare life, so it’s no wonder that my whole life, I have turned to movies time and again to keep on helping me survive the terrors that still, unfortunately, sometimes take over my life, even though most of those terrors occurred decades ago now. That is how powerful abuse of a child is. That abuse can follow us around for years and years and decades and decades, hindering our lives, keeping us from being fully functioning human beings, keeping us down and out, only able to survive day-to-day, but little else. So It Goes is a powerful short film about child abuse and it reminded me why it is important that I continue to recover from mine and not only survive it, but thrive despite it.
Oren (Adam Shalzi giving a performance that looked a little too much like me as a kid) lives on a farm with a foster mom and several other foster boys. But Oren is too skinny. Oren has black and blue circles under his eyes from sickness and exhaustion. Oren is only surviving and barely doing that. Oren also had a boyfriend amongst the foster boys, but he has died, mysteriously. It isn’t until a new foster boy, Benji (Chris Ruetten), comes to the farm and immediately loves Oren unconditionally that Oren decides he’s had enough and fights back because he doesn’t want to go the way of his last boyfriend and die “mysteriously” too. Fuck yeah, Oren!
And it only takes about 11 minutes for this short film to wallop you with the powerful message about child abuse. I swear it was almost like taking a peek into my life growing up, that’s how powerful and real the emotions are in this film. I didn’t have an abusive foster mother, but instead a mother I was actually related to who decided to experiment on me with her games and manipulations, abusing me in every way possible, except physically beating me, but my older sister didn’t escape that one, and I guess I didn’t really either because I was usually an unwilling witness to those beatings. And these abuses have left me scarred for life even though my mother hasn’t been in my life for many years now, causing me to reject many good things in my life, including love, because I didn’t think that I deserved good things, especially love, thanks to the childhood abuse. I just hope it doesn’t take Oren as long as me to realize that he deserves love even though he had a mother (or in his case, foster mother) who didn’t love him. Oren doesn’t deserve a life full of terrors and sadness long after the cause of those things is gone from his life. Oren deserves a life of his own outside of the abuse. He deserves the love of Benji. And you know what, I deserve all these things too. See, told you movies always save me.
Even though I didn’t think I would ever have filmmakers send me their films so I could write about them, didn’t mean that I didn’t dream it. I just didn’t believe it could really happen to someone like me. Someone, who thanks to childhood abuse, assumed for many decades that I was a nothing and a nobody who couldn’t even get her own mother to like her, much less love her, so why would anyone want my opinion of their film? But that’s why you keep on dreaming and you keep going after that dream. No matter how sad I got, how many years and decades I lost to debilitating depression mostly caused by childhood terrors, I still dreamed of one day getting to do what I love most in the world, write about my love of films. So no matter what, don’t let the abusers in your life keep you from living a good life and living your dreams. I am proof that you can overcome the abuse. You can thrive. You can move on with your life without the abusers. And films like So It Goes prove that.
So It Goes is currently being shown in film festivals. For more information about the film, check out their website.
P.S.: I want to give a special thank you to Andy Bosnak, who directed the film, and Karisa Bruin, who wrote the film. Andy did an amazing job directing and I can’t wait to see the films he’s going to make in the future. And Karisa is a hell of a good storyteller with some really funny observations on Twitter. I can’t wait to see more of her work as well. Congrats guys on making a powerful film that has helped at least one childhood abuse survivor – me.