SXSW 2021: Introducing, Selma Blair

Introducing, Selma Blair. Photo credit: Joseph Yakob.

Introducing, Selma Blair takes viewers on an intimate journey with the actress following her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis.

Here is what we know about MS: this disease it affects both the spinal cord and the brain. Symptoms differ for everyone and sadly, there is no cure. Blair went public about her diagnosis in an October 2018 post on Instagram.

To say that this film is raw would not be an understatement. It honestly hurts to watch Selma Blair in this state and seeing the damage that MS has done. There are times that her speech is slurred while watching the film and the unfortunate reality is that this is because of MS. Bonny Burke, Blair’s assistant, notes the differences in seeing Blair when she is both at home and out in public. She talks about some of the MS treatments, including a stem cell transplant.

In a video diary from late, Blair is seen laying in bed and describes her MS as like “having the flu.” During her rigorous Chicago-based treatment, the actress cries when she talking about having to make plans for dying. Treatment also meant sending her son to live with his father. But before she can begin to undergo the rigorous treatment, she has to undergo an evaluation and be off of MS drugs. Even with treatment, there is still no guarantee of anything working. All patients will respond differently to the treatment, too. Blair would spend 19 days at the hospital in total.

This film covers 2018 through 2020. So yes, we do see what’s been happening with Blair during the Covid-19 pandemic as the film comes to an end. Sometime after the Chicago treatment, she sees a new doctor in LA and learns the damage was done to the gray matter in her brain. Going off of her closing comments, she seems to be at peace with herself.

This film isn’t groundbreaking in terms of the genre. There are no interviews with castmates from previous movies and television series. Honestly, the film features very few talking heads in general. However, it’s also a reminder that all of us are going through our own things. This is why you should always practice being kind to others. But I digress.

Will Blair ever return to acting? I’ll let you watch the film and see her answer for yourself. But in the meanwhile, you can always watch her in films like Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions, etc.

Introducing, Selma Blair isn’t an easy watch at times but it’s an eye-opener for those who are not familiar with MS.

DIRECTOR:  Rachel Fleit
FEATURING: Selma Blair, Molly Ann Cooke, Bonny Burke, Lizzie Blair, Dr. Richard Burt, Kathleen Quigley, Arthur Saint Bleick, Troy Nankin, Krista Smith, Jason Bleick, Julie De Santo

Introducing, Selma Blair holds its world premiere during the 2021 SXSW Film Festival in the Documentary Feature Competition. Discovery+ will release at a later date.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.