Film Review: Mind Over Matter

“Music is life, wrapped up into beautiful little notes.” – Brandon Mendenhall

It seems like films to review are like buses. You wait ages then two come along at once, only these buses couldn’t be any more different. Recently I got the chance to have a sneak early peak at Stadium Anthems, a rock n’ roll comedy. Then this week I was offered a pre-release screening of real-life documentary Mind Over Matter. One watch of the trailer and I couldn’t get those links and passwords quickly enough.

Brandon Mendenhall is a young-ish man and he plays in a band. Where he likely differs from the vast majority of you reading this is that he was born with cerebral palsy, a physical ailment which can have many different effects on the body. In Brandon’s case, it caused muscle / paralysis issues with his left eye, hand and foot and his speech. What it certainly didn’t affect was his determination.

Growing up in the poorer suburbs of Chicago, he suffered more than most at the hands of other kids. Children can be mean, partly as they simply don’t know any better. Somehow, and with the help of a couple of good friends, he struggled through and in time started to explore music. In his case it was Slayer, Megadeth… and then one day Korn. Jonathan Davis’s lyrics are known for reflecting his own troubled childhood and they spoke to Mendenhall. Enough so that he decided that, paralysed hand or no, he was going to learn to play guitar. And he did.

Mind Over Matter is his story, the formation of a dream and the journey to its fruition. It’s an emotional roller-coaster and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house at points when I was watching it. The PR person who I was dealing with warned me “you’ll need tissues” and she wasn’t kidding. Damn onion-slicing ninjas. There are smiles, laughs, goosebumps and tears throughout the running time but the overall sense at the end is one of positivity.

Featuring film footage and photos from Mendenhall’s early life right up to the last couple of years, everything has been edited together with great skill and the story flows well. There are some great quotes, mainly from Mendenhall himself, many of which should be on t-shirts and positivity posters. Only alongside a photo of someone with a guitar rather than a polar bear on a cliff edge.

Many famous faces put in an appearance, but key amongst them are Munky, Davis and Head of Korn, the band who started Mendenhall on his way. Their appearances both as talking heads and as characters in the tale very much put them across in a good light and so they should. To have inspired one person who has gone on to inspire so many others is a great thing.

Mind Over Matter is a great film. Very easy to watch and get engrossed in, entertaining, but even more importantly – educational and uplifting.

Mind Over Matter is released on all major digital platforms on January 25th. More information on the official website.

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