REVIEW: ‘Resilient Heart’ has a lot of heart

The Resilient Heart follows the journeys of Dr. Valentin Fuster as he tries to improve heart health around the world. Image courtesy of Big Time PR.

The Resilient Heart, the new documentary from Oscar-nominated director Susan Froemke, follows the altruistic journeys of internationally recognized cardiologist Dr. Valentin Fuster, of Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. Not only a respected doctor among his patients, Fuster is also trying to change the world’s perception of heart disease. He has made it his mission to help young people understand the value of diet, exercise and taking proper medication.

The documentary follows Fuster as he checks in on his projects in several countries, including Colombia, Spain, Grenada, Kenya and the United States. In each location, the doctor greets local workers and medical professionals with a smile and inspiring words about the work they are doing. Then he gets down to his business; he wants to hear success stories and address any deficiencies. He meets with patients, visits remote health centers and dishes out his unique brand of motivation.

There’s no doubt that Fuster is a man who saves people’s lives, and by extension, The Resilient Heart is a tool to save lives as well. It’s hard to watch the documentary and not be changed for the better. I found myself reexamining my own life and setting up a plan to improve my own health. Fuster has that kind of effect on people.

Throughout the documentary’s 73 minutes, an endearing portrait of Fuster is created. He’s a man who will break from a high-stakes meeting to watching Barcelona and Lionel Messi play a football match on TV. He will hug most of the people he sees, and he will cut out any extraneous pleasantries and get right to the “heart” of the matter. He recognizes that the clock is ticking, and the faster he works, the more lives are potentially saved.

The Resilient Heart is more of a human film than a medical one. The intricacies of the heart and cardiovascular health are largely sidestepped for simpler lessons about diet, exercise and the need to take one’s pills. Perhaps this simplicity is exactly what Fuster is trying to attain in the world. His message is easy to understand and hopefully easy to follow: Consider the heart today otherwise you will have to consider the consequences later.

Fuster’s modus operandi is to attack heart disease through cultural awareness and especially during a child’s formative years. He rightly surmises that adults sometimes are stuck in their ways, but children can learn the benefits of healthy eating and exercise, and incorporate the principles into their lives.

The Resilient Heart, which recently played the Los Angeles Film Festival and is available on Amazon, has the power to change the world because its main subject is doing just that, changing the world.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

The Resilient Heart (2017), directed by Susan Froemke, features Dr. Valentin Fuster. Running time: 73 minutes. Rating: ★★★½

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

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