A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Sometimes, when we become desperate to save a sick loved one, we turn to unlikely measures. "We are heading toward deathlessness."
Positive Role Models
A girl's parents work day and night to save their 2-year-old daughter who is dying of brain cancer. Her older brother becomes a researcher and devotes himself to the science of reviving her.
Violence & Scariness
A young child suffers from aggressive brain cancer and dies. To preserve her until a cure is found, her family turns to cryogenics. After her death, her brain is detached from her body, frozen, and maintained in a tank in Arizona. A young man watches his sister's brain being dehydrated and he describes that her face and eyeballs got sucked in. This procedure changes the structure of her brain, making it less likely that her brain can be brought back to its original form.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice is a 2018 Thai documentary (in Thai and English) that follows a family coping with their baby girl's incurable brain cancer. Her father ceaselessly searches for a cure, but when he realizes she'll die before she's 3, he persuades the family to have her brain cryogenically preserved in a tank in Arizona. A young man watches his sister's brain being dehydrated and he describes that her face and eyeballs got sucked in. After her death, the girl becomes the youngest ever preserved that way, making her an international news story. Later, an expert in the field tells the family that the chance of ever reviving her safely is less than .1%. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an odd documentary, primarily about mourning and grief, and not so much about the cryogenics. Hope Frozen doesn't dwell on many details that would explain the cryogenics process, and much of the visual experience is devoted to nameless filler --unidentified machines whirring in science labs, performing vague functions. Since the hope is that technology that doesn't exist yet will one day permit the safe revival of her brain, and will one day cure her disease, more science details would help us understand how the parents made this decision. The Buddhist culture of Thailand prompts many media outlets there to question the parents' judgment, and numerous television anchors ask if the father isn't worried that freezing the dead child's brain is keeping her soul from "resting in peace," by trapping her soul and preventing reincarnation
The movie includes seemingly tangential vignettes; in one instance, young Matrix is shaved for a two-week Buddhist retreat to help him heal. A message at the end notes that the family is burying a copy of the documentary in an underground vault with the hope that when their daughter is revived, one day long after they're all gone, she'll understand how deeply she was loved. This lovely intention makes it clear that the movie is a letter to a dead child, and it explains why the film doesn't really address the needs of an audience.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.