Aug 30, 2022
Casey Landman, Travis Mitchell
I always find it difficult to write about a film that is deeply personal to its creator and tells a story of things which I, fortunately, can scarcely imagine. That task is made infinitely easier when dealing with a film so tender and heartfelt as ‘Scar’, a beautifully moving tale of a seventeen-year-old girl who is diagnosed with cancer.
Writer and director Alison Hale, herself a cancer survivor, has utilised that difficult experience to create a truly magnificent film, which will leave anyone an emotional wreck. The fact that Hale understands the hardships of cancer, both the well-known struggles and the little things which most people don’t think about, means that ‘Scar’ is a film with heart, grace, and care for it’s subject matter. It’s a film which, under the helm of a different director, could have easily come across as emotionally manipulative, but Hale gives every shot a tender glow - the kind which will bring you tears, and remind you that there’s always hope.
It doesn’t always feel that way, however, especially for Scarlett (the wonderful Casey Landman), as she goes through the rigorous process of chemotherapy in order to become cancer free. A sweet girl, full of life and boundless energy as she stops off to get pizza, is reduced to sleepily slumping on the sofa, such is the effect on her. Though Scarlett tries to remain positive in front of her overwhelmingly supportive friends (seriously - she has some legendary friends), the smile slips away as the seemingly endless procedure rolls on and on.
Her father (Travis Mitchell), like Scarlett, is clearly still reeling from the loss of her mother to cancer years ago and is stricken with fear that he might lose his daughter to the same fate. He’s out of his depth and sick with worry, perhaps a little too overbearing whereas Scarlett just wants to be treated as she was before. Still, he’s there for her, and she’s there for him - it's a fight which they must overcome together.
One of the best aspects of ‘Scar’ is how it shows the breakdown of that feeling of invincibility which all teenagers should possess, and how cancer takes that away from Scarlett. She should be living her life, dreaming of a bright, happy future, but instead, she’s faced with the very real possibility of death and is forced to confront her own mortality. Much of this is only possible due to the magnificently engaging performance of Casey Landman, also a cancer survivor, who puts all the feelings of anguish and sorrow from her own past into a display which grabs you by the hand from minute one and refuses to let go. It is a tour de force performance, wonderfully emotional, tender, and sometimes funny - Casey Landman you are a star.
‘Scar’ is a glorious example of a group of people channelling their pasts into a personal story full of care for its subject matter. Every aspect - the cinematography, the score, the soundtrack, the script, the direction, the acting - works in tandem to form a film which could bring the hardest of hearts to tears.