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Movie Review: Borderline
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Directed & Prodeuced by Rebbie Ratner
Cast: Regina, Barbara, David, Charlotte, Christine Foertsch, PhD, John Gunderson, MD, Marsha Linehan, PhD, Antonia New, MD, Mary Zanarini, EdD, Gina Pulice, MSW, Alex F., Leslee G., Rachel J., Elyse K., Terry Lim, Baily M., Monica P., Michelle S.
Produced by Suzanne Mitchell
Exec. Produced by Barbara Kopple
Runtime: 88 minutes
Release date: November 11th, 2016 (NYC Premiere)

“I guess you can say I had a relapse. I threatened to kick a girl’s ass,” are the first words of the film, as one powerful tear rolls down her face. We’ve all done that, but there was much more to that story.

The question she has is: “Do you think only someone borderline would have acted the way I did?”

Borderline is a powerful documentary about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), one that can be characterized by self-harm, outbursts, violence, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and substance abuse. As a result, it is often hard to find diagnosis and treatment. The director, Rebbie Ratner, set to bring this disorder into the light. She “aims to help pull it out of the closet,” having suffered from BPD herself.

More below.

The film uses very interesting images to segue into different parts. Cutters are interviewed, their scars photographed. Dancers interpret the feelings, trying to make us understand the insides of people with this disorder, and their relationships with other people.

Regina is obviously suffering, and her disorder puts this hostile wall up, so anyone that knows her diagnosis can dismiss her feelings as being part of her illness, plus they would never be wrong. Makes sense. The only thing I can liken it to to understand, is the hyperbolic version of having my anger dismissed because “it’s that time of the month.” I know that isn’t even close to what she goes through, but it is how I use text-to-self connection to try to understand.

The director, Rebbie Ratner, having a borderline diagnosis herself, really had a deep inside view of her subject(s) that allowed us to really see, without filters, how Regina struggled with her condition. I’m not sure a filmmaker who did not understand her, would know what was borderline and what was just being a human, so perhaps would mistakenly highlight normal irritation or temper for BPD. There were many times, when Regina was communicating her frustrations or past actions, or even displaying some behavior that were characteristic of BPD, where I thought, “I’ve done that,” or “I would do that.”

If you are looking for a pretty, feel-good documentary with a sunshine ending of hope and healing, this may not be the film for you. But if you are looking for rawness and realness, and to gain a better understanding of a swept under the rug understanding of an off-putting illness, you should definitely watch this. Don’t get me wrong. You will fall a little bit in love with Regina, as frightening as her unpredictability can be. She is very charming and is so self-reflective. She really put all her vulnerability out there, voicing her insecurities as we move with her through her life.

Borderline has its final screening today, Sunday, November 13th, 12:30PM at the Cinepolis Chelsea – 260 West 23rd Street, New York, NY.


People say having a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) diagnosis is equivalent to walking through life with a Do Not Resuscitate order. To the extent that it is portrayed in popular culture, the disorder is often caricatured: shrieking outbursts, bleeding eyeliner, dark mascara and slashed wrists. This film does not do that. BORDERLINE is the first documentary film to capture the lived experience of Borderline Personality Disorder. An estimated 2 percent of the US population carry the diagnosis, 80 percent of these people attempt suicide, and 10 percent succeed. Approximately 25 percent of the in-patient substance addicted and 25 percent of the in-patient eating disorder populations meet the diagnostic criteria for BPD, yet few are actually given a diagnosis.

This film follows one person with the Borderline diagnosis who gives us access to her internal world. Regina is a 45-year old woman – outta work and outta love. Witty and self-aware, she makes observations that are uncomfortable but astute, reacts on impulse, attacks, distracts, meditates, trips over herself, laughs, burns bridges, makes social gaffes, apologizes, loses her cool, philosophizes and remains dogged in her search for recovery. Yet, the human intimacy she needs most to recover, her symptoms threaten to destroy.


Borderline Documentary

Borderline Personality Disorder is a widely misunderstood mental disorder.
It’s also incredibly common with the Mayo Clinic reporting more than 3 million new diagnoses in the US each year.

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