As They Made Us is a 2022 American drama film written, directed, and produced by Mayim Bialik in her feature directorial debut. Mayim Bialik is best known as an American actress, game show host, and author. From 1991 to 1995, she played the title character of the NBC sitcom Blossom. From 2010 to 2019, she played neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The movie has been described as semi-autobiographical.
The film stars Dianna Agron, Simon Helberg, Candice Bergen, Dustin Hoffman, Julian Gant, Charlie Weber, and Justin Chu Cary. The plot follows Abigail (Agron) and the last moments she and her family spend with her dying father (Hoffman).
A series of flashbacks showcase Abigail’s less then perfect upbringing. In the present, Abigail is a divorced mother of two. A specialist recommends she hire a caregiver for her parents, Barbara and Eugene when the latter loses his ability to walk. Another doctor puts Eugene on hospice and says he has six months to live, devastating Barbara.
Abigail visits her estranged brother, Nathan. Nathan does finally relent and talks to his father, Eugene but refuses to visit with his mom Barbara. In the middle of this family drama Abigail begins a relationship with Jay, a landscaper. Eugene confesses his love for his wife Barbara before passing away a few days later. Abigail and Barbara attend his funeral, but Nathan is emotionally unable to, still overwhelmed by rage left from his childhood. Abigail argues with her brother Nathan for leaving her alone during this emotional time, yet his stance was in character, and she was consumed with the myth of a Norman Rockwell family picture.
At the end of it all, this movie is about what does go on behind closed doors in a seemingly normal middle-class family where there is no divorce, the police never get called to the home and both children do well in school and go on to successful adult lives. Now pull away the curtain and the vail and you can see untreated mental illness combined with a large amount of Fear, Obligation, and Guilt. That kind of FOG can be crippling or even worse deadly. The covert abuse and Co-Dependency left no external scares yet reveals deep wounds that can and do last a lifetime. Welcome to a real-life example of dysfunctional family 101 or maybe a modern-day film version of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. The origin of the odd title of the movie is revealed in a moving dialog near the end.
This movie family with the love and the abuse is much more typical than not. The damage can be over the top or subtle, yet no one gets out of a system like that unscathed. The pain is real and pervasive. You can’t educate or earn it away. Geographic cures truly only acts as shellac for the breath, width and depth of the hurt and trauma. Many of the survivors end up in some form of active addiction. Sex and Love addiction seems a safe bet for this ilk of person. It’s all about looking good as one drowns in silence kind of like Hamlets Ophelia.
A shared problem becomes half of a problem. We, at No More Secrets (NMS) have been helping men and women for over twenty years. If any of this resonates with you feel free to contact me and remember, misery is optional.