Review: ‘Borderline’ An Emotional Truth on Borderline Personality Disorder

Maddie Crichton ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Regina has been engaging in self-harm and struggling with suicidal thoughts since she was a child. Now, as an adult, she has a diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Through following Regina in her day to day life, sitting inside of her therapy sessions, and interviews with doctors, the documentary Borderline lets us learn about her relationship with BPD, and gives us a glimpse as to what life is like with it.

Regina holds nothing back as the documentary crew follows her, allowing the film to be very raw and authentic. Watching her inner-battle is both fascinating and heartbreaking. She has a strong presence, and her openness immediately adds a sense of intimacy, creating the sense that we personally know her just within the first five minutes.

She goes back and forth between denying her diagnoses with BPD and being consumed by it. It impacts her work and love lives and her ability to maintain any stable relationships. When she feels emotion, she feels it at it’s strongest degree. Aware of her situation, she is constantly finding herself seeking help, but only to later deny it’s impact.

Regina in Borderline. Official Selection of DOC NYC.

Regina remains the main focus of the film, and serves as a real-life example of life with a mental illness. She is very sympathetic as a character, even in moments where she makes questionable choices. We see Regina way the people around her see her, but we also see Regina the way Regina sees her. She is very vocal to those around her and to the camera, which ends up being a character in of itself, and invites the audience to be part of her life.

What proves to be equally as interesting as Regina’s relationship with BPD is her relationship with the documentary. She talks very naturally to the camera as she foes through her daily routines, but also acknowledges it’s presence when it begins to impact her. She notices how it changes her behavior, and then how it makes her think critically of her own behavior.

Rebbie Ratnor, the director of the documentary, keeps herself very isolated. Even though Regina encourages her to engage with her life, she stays a silent third party. She does an excellent job picking the right moments to show, and ends them on perfect notes.

Regina in Borderline. Official Selection of DOC NYC.

Ratnor also adds other elements of creative storytelling, which start as a shock but ultimately build upon Regina’s reality. There are scenes with staged dancing and music that are matched with words from both Regina and her doctors. It animates these concepts, giving the audience a chance to digest them.

The production, however, does not match Borderline’s feat of storytelling. There are moments with graphics and animations that seem out of place, with just one-too-many shots where the camera constantly shifts it’s focus. In these brief moments, we are taken out of the story, distracted from being by Regina’s side.

However, these blips are not enough to fully detract from the power of the documentary. Borderline shines a light on an issue that is seldom talked about, and let’s the uncomfortable moments be uncomfortable. The brief journey it takes us on is enough to open minds and educate us on life with a mental illness.

Overall Grade: B+

Watch the Trailer:


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