All In My Power ★★★★ 1/2 – Queen’s World Film Festival

All In My Power ★★★★ 1/2 – Queen’s World Film Festival

A harrowing time capsule of a documentary, All In My Power takes us on a journey of the struggles of healthcare professionals in New York and throughout all of the tragedy, respect and adoration for those who kept so many alive shine through.

On March 1st, 2020, New York recorded its first COVID-19 case. Just nine weeks later, 12 healthcare professionals were asked to share their experiences fighting a new kind of war no one could have prepared them for. 

For many who may not be fully aware of what hospitals and those within the medical profession had to do once the pandemic began to hit New York, All In My Power painstakingly informs its audience. The staff’s swiftness had to prepare for accommodating as many patients as possible, and the challenges that entailed hits you. When staff have to pause as they recant their story, it affects them. No one knew what was coming and as said, it was not until everyone saw how it hit in Italy that it rings home for those involved.

What strikes us that these fantastic people, trained and prepared for almost any circumstance, had no way to handle what was coming mentally. Understandably, fear rose within them, not only for their patients but also for their colleagues and themselves. Yet, their selflessness in those situations truly marks them out for the heroes that they are. When they struggle, they just keep going, just keep trying to help their patients.

While the talking head footage alone would be effective enough in such a documentary, when we get glimpses into the hospital via footage or photo’s we see the true horror of what was going on; photos of tired staff almost break you; the emotion continually runs high as they break down more and more about their experiences. When we get personal videos and photos, the heightened emotion mounts up so much more, especially as they fear that the healthcare professionals had of transmitting the virus to those they love, showing the human story that may have been missed. Not only did these people sacrifice their lives, but they also had to give up their personal life for us. They stay in hotels, away from those they love due to the fear that lives within them.

All In My Power - Queens World Film Festival

Frustrations form with the healthcare professionals when the lack of and forever changing PPE protocols. The running out of N95 masks and the fact that those masks are not even sufficient enough to protect the staff, those giving their lives to safe people, is haunting and, in truth, anger-inducing. If these brave people are doing everything in their ability to save lives, they shouldn’t have to wear gear longer than what is deemed appropriate. The administrators also vent their frustration to this fact, saying that if they didn’t take some of the PPE and disinfect it, there would be none left. A quick reminder about All In My Power, this was only in the first nine weeks. Goodness knows how these people have coped in the 13 months since.

Throughout, staff put on their PPE gear and personal experience of having a family member in the hospital during this time for a non-COVID issue in December. Seeing the staff and putting on all of the protective gear to go into a room where a patient resides is exhausting. You can see how the staff want to go in and be there as quickly as possible for their patients, to help them, yet they are hindered by what they have to put on. Questions needed to be asked, yet these subjects did not have the time for that and had to figure out how to work around it and get by. That is the beauty and the tragedy in All In My Power. These magnificent people do not have the time to question their superiors, their government. They are just as laser-focused as they can to make sure that the people on their shift stay alive before they clock out until tomorrow.

The personal stories that Clarke can get from his 12 subjects in All In My Power astounds. Their helplessness, anger, fears and worries come forward and compel you. As bad as their experiences were, you feel like you could sit for hours, letting them talk about what they have been dealing with. At times the documentary feels like a form of therapy for those involved as if spilling all of this out is as much for them as it is for us.

What beams down on us, though, even after hearing the pain of not seeing their family, of seeing people die, of making the toughest of choices, is how they kept working, they may have wavered at times, wondered how they could keep going forward to the next shift. Yet, somehow they did, and you can’t help but admire them for it. These are people who have our undying regard, and through the tears, you sense the pride in themselves that they are still doing their best. We have that pride for them, and All In My Power allows us the chance to appreciate them.

There is so much to unpack in Chandler Clarke’s film that it would make this review a massive essay. Instead, this is an essential watch. Every documentary about what medical professionals did and are still doing during this time is an essential watch. Do not miss All In My Power – what just a small sample of New York healthcare professionals did and sacrificed for their community deserves.

★★★★ 1/2

All In My Power is showing at the Queen’s World Film Festival until the 28th June, watch it here

For more information about the festival click here

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