Netflix documentary Life Overtakes Me reveals circumstances that should not happen to any child, in a tragic small feature.
Netflix documentary Life Overtakes Me provokes an emotional reaction I was not quite sure how to handle. The cameras follow refugee families who have fled to Sweden and reveals children that are suffering from Resignation Syndrome. I was not aware of this condition, but it is caused by extreme trauma, causing a child to be unresponsive, edging closer and closer to unconsciousness until they are physically unable to look after themselves. Watching a child lose themselves to Resignation Syndrome due to trauma brought on by horrifying events is painful.
Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas‘ Netflix documentary is not investigative, but rather a window into the family life. It’s admirable how the parents have familiarised themselves with the day to day routine of looking after their unresponsive child, in circumstances that you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Life Overtakes Me presents courage that would break many. Resignation Syndrome can last for years, so the parents can only live and hope that eventually, their child will respond, bringing back the remaining normality they have.
Netflix’s Life Overtakes Me spends screen time looking into the events that have forced them to find asylum in Sweden. It will serve as no surprise that they left undesirable, violent areas of their own country purely for safety after their businesses, livelihood and life was put at risk by the same people who were meant to protect them. Have you ever had a friend or family member who speaks about refugees like they are an inconvenience to the country for fleeing a country of crippling violence? It makes me angry, and documentary Life Overtakes Me marks a salient point that the world needs to offer more humanitarian efforts, rather than squabbling over the perceived “lack of jobs” due to pesky foreigners. Children’s lives are at stake, and Life Overtakes Them documents children so traumatized, they shut their body down.
That cannot be right.