Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story (Phillip Baribeau 2017) USA/MEXICO

Reviewed by Susan Scaduto. Viewed as The Opening Night film during SBIFF 2017 at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA.

A moving documentary about one man’s journey of survival after being electrocuted with 2400 volts. Jennifer Jane, the best friend, business partner and ex-girlfriend of Eduardo Garcia started documenting Ed’s injury and healing. When they decided to make this a documentary and develop the film, Phillip Baribeau took over as director.

Jennifer Jane had already started filming Ed for a TV show about cooking in nature. When she comes to his side in the hospital, she doesn’t know whether he will or die but she brings her camera and just starts filming. She assured Ed that they wouldn’t use any footage he wasn’t comfortable with.

Eduardo miraculously survives his injuries but has a lot of surgeries and rehabilitation to do. When they are trying to repair injuries to his groin, it’s discovered that he testicular cancer. So now, still healing from a horrific accident, he has to fight cancer and go through chemo. Through all of it, Ed remains positive even as he mourns his situation.

Jennifer and Ed’s friendship and her care for him in his neediest hour is remarkable and so inspiring. I cried a lot at the beauty of their partnership.

The film follows their story for a few years as Ed gets a prosthetic hand and how he will use his hands and still pursue his passion for cooking without a hand or fingers. Ed overcomes all of it.

We meet Ed’s entire nuclear family and see him reunited with his estranged father. They speak with such openness and vulnerability.

Charged does not feel like a documentary but more like a narrative film. We go on a journey and character arc with Ed, Jen and his family.

Toward the end, we see Ed begin to do some public speaking in order to inspire others and give back to the community, especially young people. He was many TV shows to continue his cooking and tell his story. Ed is definitely a fighter and a force for good in the world.

Because I am romantic sap, I was sad that Jen and Ed don’t end up together as a romantic couple. But their bond is very deep with each other and beautiful!

The scenes in nature that Jen shot are stunning and very creative.

This film is a must-see in my opinion. It’s an incredibly moving and inspiring film about survival, love, friendship, family and the meaning of life.



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