All That I Am is showing as part of the Hot Docs Festival, starting May 28, 2020. Get a ticket to stream it here.

After being sexually abused by her stepfather from ages 6 through 12, 18-year-old Emilie Andrea returns home in hopes of starting a new life with her mother and three younger half-siblings. She still is gripped by panic attacks and anger. Even worse, she fears that he will try to re-enter her life now that he is out of prison. Her mother tells her she will be safe at home but Emilie feels upset that the man who wrecked her life enjoys more freedom than she does.

Although she would prefer spending most of her free time petting and cuddling her adoring white cat, she soon is surrounded by counselors and other helpers who want to get her life back on track. They do affirm her gifts as a writer but are convinced that getting a better paying job or returning to school will be the best ticket to a suitable career. They want her to be more sociable, to date, and to have more friends.

A scene from All That I Am

Tone Grottjord-Glenne directs this emotionally touching Norwegian documentary with a powerful appreciation of the lasting damage of sexual abuse on children and those closest to them. Emilie Andrea draws out our empathy as she struggles with fears, nightmares, scary memories, and depression. In addition, her mother and half-sister seek her forgiveness for not seeing what was going on years ago. We also sense and identify with Emilie's feelings of being rushed too fast by the professional caregivers who expect her path to normalcy to be swift and satisfying.