This Hits Home (2023)

This Hits Home (2023)

The documentary has something urgent and essential to say, but it muddles the message with technical ineptitude



United States of America
75 min


The issue of domestic violence and its long-lasting impact on survivors is compelling; this documentary is less so.

What it's about

Speaking to medical, sociological, and legal experts, as well as multiple survivors, the documentary explores the devastating and long-term effects of repetitive traumatic brain injury among victims of domestic abuse.

The take

This Hits Home has an important mission: make the connection between traumatic brain injury and domestic abuse victims more well-known to the public. Every day, wives, girlfriends, and children get their skulls knocked, slammed, and smashed by their abusers, their heads targeted because the injuries are easier to hide and the symptoms of trauma don’t manifest until much later. But despite this prevalent violence, concussions and brain disorders are less associated with domestic abuse than they are in contact sports like wrestling and football. This Hits Home gathers experts and victims alike to change that conversation. It’s a noble effort, but it’s unfortunately masked by weird editing choices that ultimately weaken a strong premise. The film interviews multiple experts in the same field, so it often feels like it’s going in circles instead of propelling forward with new points. In an effort to be comprehensive, it includes commentaries from incidental subjects, which creates a lull that detracts from the main focus. And maybe the biggest fault here is that it relies too much on the survivors’ (admittedly powerful) anecdotes, so much so that it fails to bring any of its own flourishes to the documentary. I appreciate the filmmakers opting to be more straightforward than sensationalist, especially with such a sensitive topic. Still, without its own clear voice and cinematic style, it fails to set itself apart from the many informational videos that are already out there. 

What stands out

The anecdotes from the survivors are difficult and devastating, but necessary to sit through. There’s Liz and her three children, one of whom sustained a hemorrhage as an infant and to this day suffers the consequences of that injury. There’s Dr. Garay-Serratos, another survivor who had to watch her father beat her mother for 40 years, before the mother was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer's and other brain-related disorders. One of the medical experts in the film labels this phenomenon the “invisible injury,” and it’s chilling how fitting that term is.


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