Watch A Light Beneath Their Feet
- 1 hr 30 min
A Light Beneath Their Feet is a heartwarming and emotional drama film that was released in 2015. The film tells the story of a young woman named Bethany (played by Maddie Hasson) who is struggling to cope with the pressures of school, family and the future. Her mother, Gloria (Taryn Manning), suffers from bipolar disorder, which means that Bethany has had to grow up fast and take on responsibilities that many teenagers wouldn't have to deal with.
The movie explores the mother-daughter relationship in a raw and realistic way, showing how mental illness can impact not only the individual but also their loved ones. Gloria's illness has led to some challenging situations for Bethany, who has had to hide her mother's condition from her friends and teachers. Despite the difficulties, Bethany remains committed to her mother, earning her respect from Gloria.
However, as Bethany approaches college, she begins to struggle with the idea of leaving her mother at home, potentially vulnerable and unsupported. In an effort to support Gloria, Bethany considers forgoing college to stay close to home, a decision that drives a wedge between herself and her mother. Through this, the movie emphasizes the difficult choices that young caregivers face.
The teenager's internal conflict and struggles manifest themselves in the main character's interest in a young man named Jeremy, played by Kali Hawk. He is a mature-minded and conscientious college student whose interest in Bethany is piqued when she speaks about her love for physics, the field he is studying. Jeremy provides a voice of reason, reminding Bethany that, while it is admirable that she cares for her mother and values family, her ambitions should not be set aside entirely. He inspires her to take control of her life and pursue her dreams.
The relationship that blossoms between the two teenagers further highlights the theme of change and growth, with Bethany questioning the stability she has built her life around, and what it could mean for her future. Also contributing to this is her mother's continued struggle with mental illness, which falls into a crisis when Gloria is forced to rely on Bethany after their family loses access to the medical coverage that supports Gloria's treatment.
The movie handles the delicate topic of mental illness with sensitivity, raising awareness of the repercussions it can have on the family dynamics. While depression and anxiety are becoming more commonly discussed within families, bipolar disorder was less known at the time of the film's release. Given that the movie was released in 2015, it provides a snapshot of where society was in terms of healthcare, as the Affordable Care Act is mentioned in one of the scenes.
The film was directed by Valerie Weiss and written by Moira McMahon Leeper. The script portrays the troubled mother-daughter relationship realistically, with the actors embodying their characters effectively. Manning, who is best known for her role as Pennsatucky on Orange is the New Black, delivers an incredibly nuanced performance as an individual struggling with bipolar disorder. Her acting is to the point that the audience empathizes with her pain and hardship. On the other hand, Maddie Hasson is just as strong playing the daughter forced to grow up too quickly but still full of love and devotion to her mother.
In conclusion, A Light Beneath Their Feet is an emotional and thought-provoking film that delves into the complexities of living with a parent suffering from mental illness. The movie is a must-see, as it creates awareness for this condition, helps people understand the challenges that come with caring for a loved one with a mental health condition, and inspires people to pursue their dreams while maintaining familial ties.
A Light Beneath Their Feet is a 2016 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.