Movie Review: Wild Butterfly

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Young WA mother and junkie seeks a second liver transplant because the first one failed after drug use. Remember that? If so I urge you to watch Wild Butterfly, the gripping insightful story behind the headlines.

Movie Review: Wild Butterfly
Perth, Western Australia 2018: WKCM film stills, September 4, 2018, Perth Western Australia. (Photo by: Sabine Albers)

Wild Butterfly is a feature length, dramatised true crime documentary, that follows the tragic story of 24 year-old Claire Murray. Her parents Val and Michael Murray are telling the hidden story behind the headlines for the first time. In hearing this you might envisage a one-sided rewriting of history penned by loving parents. There can be little doubt about the intense love driving Val and Michael, however the documentary is based on 9 years of painstaking research.

The research included accessing medical records through Freedom of Information, obtaining school records and new criminal evidence. Through this the documentary touches on possible cover-ups, medical negligence and missing police records. One of the most damning aspects though is the trial by mainstream and social media. This is shown using real online, radio and TV social media commentary. I’m sure many of you will remember this aspect of the story.

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For those who don’t recall. Claire was depicted as a junkie who after recklessly destroying her first liver transplant was asking for help to obtain another. The media went into overdrive detailing the story. They even undertook a poll about whether she should or shouldn’t receive the transplant. The poll showed 76% of 8,000 people disagreed with Claire being given another chance.

Wild Butterfly explores Claire’s teenage years and the relationship between trauma, mental health issues and drug use. All of Claire’s dialogue is drawn from her poetry, journal entries, comments recorded in psychiatric reports; as well as her parents’ statements about what Claire said to them. The dramatisation is soulfully portrayed by Ashleigh Zinko.

Claire was not eligible to re-join the local transplant system as she’d used heroin after receiving the first transplant. The family found an option on Singapore and the government provided a loan. What was uncovered in Singapore added more to the story (you need to watch the movie).

Wild Butterfly is a tough story beautifully told through interviews and enactments. The revelations will have you considering much beyond this one family’s story. For one it reminds us of how we don’t really know what’s happening in people’s lives and yet how quick we are to judge. It also made me think that, just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Should we really be running polls on what amounts to someone’s life and death? It feels a little like being in the crowd at a public hanging doesn’t it?. Thankfully the bad side of humanity is balanced by the compassion and love shown by Claire’s family. After such a short, tough life the hope is Claire is in a kinder place.

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In presenting Wild Butterfly Claire’s parents hope no other family will go through a similar ordeal and that the perpetrator will finally being brought to justice. They hope that someone watching this film will speak out.

Disclaimer: Wild Butterfly deals with challenging and confronting themes. If watching the film raises any issues for you we encourage you to seek support.

For movie sessions check out listings for the limited sessions on March 9 to May 20th

March 9th – Event Cinemas Innaloo and Ace Cinemas Rockingham

March 11th – Hoyts Cinemas Millenium

March 15th – Grand Cinemas Bunbury

April 8th – Readings Cinema Belmont

May 20th – Windsor Theatre

For tickets and other session details go to Fan Force. You will have to buy tickets through this site, not at the venue.

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