The following post is my addition to the Chiari Carnival #4 – If My Life Were a Movie.
Laugh about Nothing (2012)98 min – Documentary
Ratings 8.8/10 from 131,712 users
Reviews: 386 users | 2 critics
Laugh about Nothing is a poignant and surprisingly witty documentary about a woman’s struggle with a rare neurological condition and her quest to find strength, peace and courage.
Director: Renee Gallop
Writer: Renee Gallop
Stars: Julia Roberts, Boyet, Seth Rogen
Shalunya ……………….….….. Julia Roberts
Boyet …………………..……..… Himself
Brendon (son)…………….…….. Seth Rogen
Dr. Roberts (neurosurgeon) ..… Jon Hamm
Dr. West (general practitioner) … Reese Whitherspoon
Barbara (Mom) ………….…..…… Gena Rowlands
Arnold (Dad) ……………….……. Raymond J Barry
On a hot summer day in Oklahoma, Shalunya’s appointment with her doctor sets her life on a twisting path of pain and confusion. Although, bizarre symptoms have plagued Shalunya since childhood, numerous doctors have been unable to decisively diagnose her. Therefore, she sets off to live life in spite of her plight. She marries, raises a bright, witty son and deals with her symptoms as best she can. Having finally found a place where she could be content with her situation, she unexpectedly finds herself facing a mysterious, rare condition with no known cure. The only treatment option is a risky neurosurgery. So, Shalunya prays for the best; but prepares herself for the worst. Under the impression that her life would be ‘normal’ after surgery, she never suspected the barrage of symptoms that would crush her will to live. Her condition worsens and seeps into every aspect of her life. Rounds and rounds of tests and treatments reek havoc on her spirit. Turning to alternative therapies, holistic treatments does little to ease her debilitating symptoms. Divorced by her husband due to her inability to cope with the ravages of disease, feeling abandoned by her son’s departure as he embarks on his adult life, and being forced to quit her beloved job as travel agent leaves Shalunya’s home and heart feeling destitute. Seeking to find peace through travel, alcohol, religion, and therapy; she ends up feeling lonelier than ever before. Just when she is at her lowest, she finds hope where she least expects to. On Facebook, at the poker table. Boyet has an ease about him that makes it easy for her quickly befriend him. Yet, he is not at all her type. He is foreign, quirky, uncomplicated and short; but his sense of humor warms her heart and opens her soul. After a more than a year of playing poker and video chatting daily, she flies halfway around the world to meet the man with whom she has fallen in love. His simple way of believing that in life there are only two options, acceptance or rejection, opens Shalunya’s eyes to different means of dealing with her daunting situation. While he is showing her new ways to embrace life, she learns to talk about anything, pray about everything and laugh about nothing.
Was Laugh about Nothing based on a book? It was actually based off a short story written about the actual events in Shalunya’s life. The story is still available on her blog here.
How is it possible that someone can be thirty something before a birth defect was detected? Since it’s a birth defect, wouldn’t it have been found at birth? The two most effective ways to effectively diagnose Chiari Malformation is with an MRI or by posthumously examining the brain. When Shalunya was younger MRIs were not prevalent; therefore diagnosis was not made until her first MRI at the age of 36. Although the structural deformity is present at birth it may not cause symptoms until adulthood.
Since ‘Laugh about Nothing’ is a documentary, are all events depicted in the movie accurate? Everything regarding Shalunya’s diagnosis and medical treatment is accurate. Some minor details may or may not have been altered to enhance the storyline. Why are they called ‘zipperheads’? The scar caused by the surgical decompression resembles a zipper, and since the scar is located on the back of the head they are lightheartedly refer to themselves as zipperheads.
Inspiring and uplifting. 15 May 2012
Author: BearlyBurnt from United States
It’s a beautiful story of a woman’s struggle to life courageously with a life long chronic illness. It is a great reminder that the human spirit can reach deep within to find strength and fortitude for living a happy life in spite of such trying circumstances.
A triumphant story of a woman’s will to live. 13 May 2012
Author: April from United States
After facing one medical setback after the next, Shalunya’s world comes crashing down taking all her hope and faith along with it. Then fate steps in and she is shown simple ways to restore her faith and reclaim her hope. Once these things happen her heart opens, love and light shine thru every aspect of her life. This film restores my belief that we can overcome anything life throws at us.
Her resilience is captivating. 12 May 2012
Author: Misty from United States
Watching Shalunya lose everything, her health, her job, her family, and her hope was a humbling experience. I felt like I was right there with her as she lost everything. Her journey back to a healthy, happy life while coping with such a challenging illness is breathtaking. Her conviction to regain everything she lost is inspirational.
Explore More About Laugh about Nothing
Shalunya's personal Chiari story
Chiari Type One Malformation
Kyle's Chiari Malformation Battle
Zipperheads living with Chiari Malformation
Life with DisAbilities
Arachnoid Cyst Support
Day with Chiari
Living with Arnold Chiari Malformation