4 out of 5 stars
While the world is reeling from the impact of COVID isolation, this timely film speaks to another societal epidemic that plagues our world. Jazz Thornton’s story speaks to the heart of multiple generations while offering a hand to those who suffer through a desperate side of mental illness. Filmmaker Leanne Pooley manages to come alongside this young woman as she works to help these individuals who are considering suicide. She shows her tireless work of increasing awareness of this topic and the young activist’s attempt to pull it out of the shadows of conversation and bring it into the light.
This documentary walks in Jazz’s footsteps as she works to tell the story of Jess, her friend that eventually took her own life. An action that led Thornton to develop the Jessica’s Tree website. A charity that seeks to help those who are going through the same struggles that influenced her friend. It shows people and their families who are working through these struggles, providing hope that there are choices that do not involve taking their own lives. Leanne Pooley manages to respectfully immerse the audience into Jazz’s world while capturing the emotional and spiritual toll that it takes on her.
Our team at Reel Dialogue hope that you read this as a call to action and not merely as a review. This is a story that needs to be seen and heard. People need to engage with this film as a means of education and as a wake up call to see how to help others who wrestle with these life and death issues. A project that pulls back the curtain on an epidemic that impacts all of humanity by exposing the needs of people out there who yearn for someone to come alongside them and offer a helping hand.
Even though Jazz and Jess' stories are difficult at times to watch and the subject matter is confronting, the production team has produced a film that is accessible for teens and adults. Even though there are a multitude of films that could wear the label of ‘important,’ The Girl on the Bridge is one that everyone should consider seeing and sharing with others. Jazz’s journey manages to show us all that we all have someone in our lives who could use our loving care and that our simple actions could potentially save a life.
Reel Dialogue: The value of life
One thing that stood out about this film was an underlying consideration of the love and care of God. Before anyone is born and they experience all of life's inevitable trials, God knew us all. He sees all of his creation as a masterpiece, as the psalmist says in Psalm 139 that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Also, throughout the trials and travails of this time on earth, he provides hope through the work of his son, Jesus, who came to save us and provide us with access to eternal life. The final message of the Bible and the life of Jesus, is to know that anyone can choose to have this hope of eternal life. A life without tears, without wheelchairs and without pain in the presence of God.
Where can you find help?
In Australia: Call Lifeline at 13 11 14 or go to the website: lifeline.org.au
THE GIRL ON THE BRIDGE releases for the first time in Australia from October 10. The film will be available to watch online and in select cinemas nationally to coincide with Mental Health Week (October 10-17).
Find out more at thegirlonthebridgefilm.com.au