The Heart of the Matter is a documentary film about finding hope and light in the face of pornography addiction. I have watched this project since its inception. I had the opportunity to be on set for a couple of the interviews. I have been so moved and inspired by the project itself and the dedication of the director, Jessica Mockett. And the stories! The stories are incredible. I’ve done years of research on this topic in my volunteer and professional work, but nothing educates more clearly and powerfully than personal stories.
The individuals’ experiences shared in the film are woven together alongside professional and Christian ministerial perspectives to tell the story about how addiction works and how healing can be found — for both the one struggling with addiction and for the loved ones affected by it.
I will take that a step further. It sheds light on how Christian communities can heal from the grip that shame often has on our hearts and our ways of relating to each other. (I particularly appreciated Daniel Weiss’s comments in the movie about the healing the body of Christ needs in this regard.)
From first exposure to the addictive and escalating behaviors, to the point of finally sharing the truth with someone, to the hope and possibility of recovery — the film’s overall narrative arc is compelling, thorough, and real, while not being depressing or frightening (as some resources about pornography and sexual addiction can be). There were youth at the premiere, and this is a film I will be sharing with my teens.
This is one of those films that I think really is a must-see. I heard a sex addiction therapist comment that he would not have changed anything in the film. It really is excellent.
And yet, the topic of pornography/sexual addiction is still a topic that people are afraid of. It’s such a catch-22. It was hard to get people to come to the premiere. People are still afraid of the topic, ashamed to talk about it, to learn about it. Please help break that cycle by watching the film (you can get $3 off your purchase with the code HOPE314) and by inviting others to watch it. Share the trailer on social media. Talk about what moved you from the film.
When I watched the film this time around, Jessica’s story (see Beggar’s Daughter) moved me to tears. I got to hear the interviews with David and Wendy and with Amy from Walking in Freedom when I was on set. Again, moved to tears (as in stifling sobs on the set). You may not cry when you watch this film, but I think it’s safe to say you will be moved. And, I hope, changed for the better — with more compassion and hope for those who struggle, and more desire to help bring more light to this topic, so more people can find the joy of healing.
*Note: This movie was formerly called Shamed. The title was changed so as to capture more of the hope of the message. It does address the issue of shame in conservative Christian communities, however, and does so in a very uplifting (rather than critical) way.