I have been a fan of yours for as long as I can remember. Your movies have given me so much laughter and joy when I have needed it the most. Thank you for sharing the gift of your humor with the world because everyone needs a good laugh now and then.
However, that’s not why I am writing to you today. I am writing because I watched your Netflix documentary, Stutz, and absolutely loved it. I can’t imagine the anxiety you had over the documentary’s release, but I cannot commend you and thank you enough for putting so much hard work into it and going through with it.
To say, “I loved getting to know Dr. Phil Stutz,” would be an understatement. I had known about him as a professional, but the film allowed us to get to know him on a human level. The concept of a patient flipping the script and interviewing the doctor is brilliant. At one point in the film, you mention,
“It’s important to know that the people we look up to aren’t exempt from all the problems that we ourselves have. You [Stutz] are still in the struggle and in the fight of being human.”
One of the people you mentioned you look up to is Phil, and understandably so. It was fascinating to hear you come to that realization while speaking with someone you admire. As you told him, he laughed, and you asked if he was laughing because it was “absurd,” and he said “yes.”
Such an interesting scene and take on perception. It’s being brave enough to be honest about your perception and then being open to it changing over time. Everyone can think of someone they look up to whom they feel is “untouchable.” The reality is everyone struggles; however, it is a matter of how we deal with it.
My favorite scene (other than the final scene) was when you came forward with how you truly felt about the film to Stutz. You reveal you’ve been filming for years but have insecurities about it. You talk about being afraid of the film failing. Stutz said the following,
“Failure and vulnerability connects you to the rest of the world because you’re telling others, ‘I can’t do this by myself.”
The mere fact that you admitted that you were struggling and uncertain was powerful and comforting. You let us see that you’re human too. That is the one thing we all can relate to no matter who we are. We are all human, and we are much more alike than we think.
I have been struggling lately with deciding what I want to do with my own life. It was comforting to know I’m not in the fight to accept uncertainty alone. You’ve given a true gift to people, and it’s incredible to witness. It is heartwarming to see people do something not just for themselves, but also for the greater good. I hope you know that you’re changing the world for the better.
Anyway, I wanted to thank you for releasing the documentary because it meant a lot to me, and I can guarantee that it meant something to many others as well. However, I believe even if your film had only changed one life, it would have still been worth making. That’s one life changes for the better.
Thank you for helping break down the mental health stigma in such a beautiful way. Don’t let the critics get you down. You did a great thing for the mental health community, and no critic can discredit that. I can’t wait to see what you do next!