“I can count the number of docs I’ve seen in theaters on one hand and still have some fingers left over. But I saw this strange and quirky trailer when I was most recently at the Landmark. I was intrigued, but it was being released during a crunchy time schedule-wise and again, I don’t typically do docs. So I did some quick googling to find out where the story went to momentarily satisfy my curiosity and resigned myself to waiting for Netflix. Then I started hearing more and more about it, and I really wanted to see how it all played out. Like destiny, I got an email about an advance screening at the Landmark followed by a Q&A with filmmaker David Farrier. The timing was such that the movie would end right as my Mom landed to begin her two week stay here. She told me to call her when I was done, at which point she’d grab a cab and catch me as I arrived home.
I cannot remember the last time I was so absorbed by a film. There was not a wasted second or an instance where my mind wandered (and believe me, I have a lot of stuff for it to wander to right now). Complete undivided edge of my seat attention, and even a sense of anxiety kicking in a the stakes got higher and higher.
Okay, let’s take a step back. What is Tickled? The aforementioned David Farrier is a New Zealand journalist, who focuses on quirky human interest pieces. In searching for his next story, he came across videos of an extreme tickling competition. When he reached out to the company behind them, he received an exceedingly harsh and vitriolic response. Of course he couldn’t just let it go, and instead took a deep dive down the rabbit hole to find out exactly what was going on. And what he did find was a tangled web of deception and harassment, where many young boys were lured to make these “”competition”” tickling videos under false pretenses, and then had their lives ruined when they tried to distance themselves. Even if I wanted to divulge more of the story, you wouldn’t believe me. I couldn’t believe it. This whole David and Goliath story that needed to be told is one that also needs to be experienced.
I was able to get a Q in for an A after the film. I asked Farrier if going into the big confrontation towards the end if he knew what he was gonna say. Had he been practicing the conversation in his head (similar to how I was doing during the last 15 min of the film waiting for my chance to ask) or was he winging it? His response was that he thought he knew what he was gonna say, but in the moment he veered completely off course.
I feel like there’s so much I want to say about this film, but it speaks for itself if you just see it. So I’ll add in one more word of recommendation. If you have strong feelings against any kind of bullying (and seeing as how I’ve discussed my high school experience at length, we all know where I side), you’ll connect with this expertly crafted film.
Tickled – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”