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Salt in My Soul (2022)

At the age of three Mallory Smith was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. As her dad put it, she was given a “death sentence.” Mallory refused to let her disease hold her back, however, and she spent the rest of her life looking for a way to survive her diagnosis. Based on Mallory’s memoir, Salt in My Soul tells the story of a young woman living each day as if it would be her last, and trying to find meaning in the process.

Salt in My Soul is soul sucking, heart breaking, and tear jerking, and the reality is that these things exist throughout the course of the film, never relenting, and dragging viewers down emotionally. This sounds like a veritable death sentence for the documentary about a young girl’s journey, but the reality is that it’s everything that it needs to be in order to reach viewers. There are multiple moving parts throughout Salt in My Soul, and the emotional draw present takes many forms–one being Mallory’s father.

One of the aspects that allows viewers to realize the severity of Mallory’s situation (beyond Mallory herself) is her father, Mark Smith. It’s clear from the opening moments that Mark is incredibly pragmatic, and that he is often able to understand the reality of even the most difficult situations. However, in those moments when he’s tasked with expressing, in depth, the plights of his daughter, his expressive face clearly tells viewers how difficult and distressing the situation was, and how deeply it affected him emotionally. In those moments viewers are pulled into the emotional tidal wave that is Mallory’s life better than any other time in Salt in My Soul. I know that it’s not Mark’s purpose to be the vehicle by which the emotion is expressed, but he manages to be that anyway, and he plays a major role in how the doc and its content is perceived and reaches viewers.

Salt in My Soul works on a number of levels. It educates, it evokes emotion, but most importantly it teaches the world a lesson–a lesson that I think the world so desperately needs to fully absorb and understand. “Life sucks and then you die,” a sentiment that has been expressed to me by a family member throughout the course of my life. Harsh, yes–but the truth is that this is a reality for Mallory Smith. The message that is so beautifully conveyed throughout Salt in My Soul is that you should be grateful for all that you do have, for all that you can do, and for all the opportunities that come your way, because someone, somewhere isn’t as lucky as you. Salt in My Soul isn’t telling you not to be depressed or that you should ignore the difficulties of your life, but it is telling you that, in one way or another, you have opportunities that you shouldn’t take for granted. This is a beautiful sentiment expressed by literally everyone on screen, and one that everyone watching should take to heart.

I watched Salt in My Soul at six o’clock in the morning, and, honestly, this was a rough way to start my day. It hurt my heart first thing in the morning, but what it did even more prominently was, as previously mentioned, express to me the importance of living and appreciating the things that I have. Documentaries are often hit or miss. They either present viewers with a topic they find interesting or one that doesn’t interest them at all–and docs are typically reliant simply on content. The content of Salt in My Soul is riveting, captivating, and eye opening. It’s certainly not the first time I felt this, but Salt in My Soul allowed me to look introspectively and genuinely appreciate all that I have. Again, Salt in My Soul educates, evokes emotion, and teaches the world a valuable lesson–and as a result it’s simply beautiful.

Directed by Will Battersby.

Starring Mallory Smith, Diane Shader Smith, Mark Smith, Micah Smith, etc.




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