‘Mortified Nation’ finds humor and connection in confessions


Even in the darkest and most hidden corners, Netflix holds hidden gems. One gem is the documentary “Mortified Nation,” directed by Michael Mayer.

“Mortified Nation” is a one-of-a-kind documentary. Inspired by the Mortified movement, various adults around the country get up on a stage and read from the diaries they kept when they were younger.

The film follows the producers and participants as they prepare and discuss what it is like to take part in the Mortified movement.

Some participants laugh at their antics from their younger years, merely eager to share a funny story, not worrying too much on the effect the story may have on the audience.

Other participants shake due to nerves, preparing themselves to share something very personal that, even in present times, remains incredibly relevant, as it is what helped them become who they are now.

The film takes you back to the roots of the Mortified movement, which was started by David Nadelberg and Neil Katcher when Nadelberg first dug up an old love letter he had written and decided to read it out loud to people, whilst Katcher recorded.

Nadelberg and Katcher became the first two producers of Mortified, but nowadays various producers around the country have set up stages and invited various people to join the fun.

“Mortified Nation” informs its viewers on the process of becoming a Mortified participant, getting on stage and reading their thoughts from years ago.

The film is funny and inexplicably touching, particularly participant Jessica Wassil.

Wassil’s pre-teen angst revolved mostly around middle-child syndrome, especially after her parents divorce.

Through the readings in her diary, Wassil recounts having felt unappreciated and picked on by her busy single mother.

Viewers not only get to struggle alongside this pre-teen as she tries to find ways of pleasing her mother, but they also relish in happiness as Jessica finally seems to find a place within her family.

Audiences obtain a sense of familiarity and reliability. One can easily sympathize with the readings.

This same sense of familiarity may bring laughs and tears.

“Mortified Nation” is a brilliant documentary proving that when one is a teenager, no matter what the decade, teendom’s associated hormonal changes and issues of coming of age largely stay the same through time.

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