The inspirational documentary, Finding Inner Hero, spotlights a centuries-old message that could easily become a mere myth or fable in a matter of years. However, directors Constance Brenneman and Brad Hammer remind us that it’s within the human spirit never to give up as our character is built through trying times.
The documentary opens with a description of the classic hero as told in our stories, books, and cinema. It states, “The classic hero is someone who goes beyond their comfort zone to become a braver and more loving version of themselves.” They are not superheroes or warriors saving the world, but someone with a personal weakness or troubling circumstance, and it’s this hero’s journey to overcome and win in the end.
Finding Inner Hero tells the story of six individuals who were dealt some incredibly bad hands in life. Where others would have given in to despair, our subjects found their inner strength to become the heroes of their stories. And at the same time, audiences are challenged to be the heroes of their own stories.
Anna is a refugee from Communist Poland. She found new freedom in America, leading her to a go-nowhere life until she discovered her true passion and talent.
Jeremy was given up for adoption by his mother at the age of four. Feeling lost within the foster care system and having difficulty finding acceptance as a gay man, he developed a severe drug addiction and found himself with very little hope for the future.
CeCe lived in poverty in China before moving to America, and as she became an adult, her life choices were met with disappointment from her parents.
“…others would have given in to despair, our subjects found their inner strength to become the heroes of their stories.”
Finding Inner Hero then introduces us to Eric, who felt useless in life. His answer was to join the military. During combat, he suffered depression and severe PTSD, leading to his marriage and family falling apart.
Growing up on the rough streets of South Central, Dayvon found a way out by being drafted by the NFL, but his career never began due to a cancer diagnosis.
Lastly, Shelby grew up in the Bible Belt and realized early that she was gay. There came the point where she could not hide her sexual orientation any longer and was forced to choose between her lover or her family.
Brenneman and Hammer find parallels between the lives of the subjects and the famous “Hero’s Journey,” made popular by Joseph Campbell and explained in detail by Dr. Susan Whitbourne. Over the past several years, I feel like we’ve allowed our personal weaknesses and circumstances to stunt our maturity as human beings. It’s as if we’re stuck waiting for a hero to save us while not realizing that hero is within us.
As a documentary, Finding Inner Hero is no-frills. It features talking-head interviews with our six subjects, and their stories are interwoven together alongside chapter breaks and commentary on the Hero’s Journey. The directors make good use of stock footage to enhance each narrative. Thankfully, each tale is compelling and inspirational and more than makes up for the lack of cinematic flair or fireworks.
As the world slowly returns from Covid and our personal lives face new emotional and circumstantial challenges, Finding Inner Hero is the motivation and reminder we need that the human spirit has always been about rising to the top from adversity. Ultimately, we may not be where we dreamed of long ago, but we’ve become better people from our journeys.
Finding Inner Hero is available now on all major VOD platforms.
"…compelling and inspirational..."