Salt in My Soul introduces the world to Mallory Smith, a young woman with cystic fibrosis who remains resolute in her desire to live a full life. Diagnosed at the age of three, Mallory entered into her twenty-five-year battle with the disease with ferocity, managing to spark joy wherever she went. Based on Mallory’s posthumously-released bestselling memoir of the same name, Salt in My Soul is a testament to one young woman’s ability to breathe life into the world, regardless of what she’s faces.
Directed by Will Battersby, Salt in My Soul is both heart-wrenching and awe-inspiring. Fueled by honesty and heart, Soul never feels like it’s pulling its punches. In Mallory, Battersby has truly found a subject worth exploring and he allows her to express herself freely. Primarily telling the story through Mallory’s videos and writing, Battersby allows for an unfiltered look inside the mind of one young woman’s battle with her own failing body. Even so, Mallory’s sheer force of will and determination to lean into life feel like a direct shot into the darkness. With energy and enthusiasm, Mallory takes hold of her life and shows a ferocity to experience the types of things that her peers are able to do.
There’s a fascinating blend of joy and sadness within this film that catches you off-guard. This is a story where death feels inevitable yet doesn’t feel ominous. Although we have heard stories of illness and inspiration before, there’s something unique about Mallory’s journey that truly penetrates the soul. With honesty and enthusiasm, Mallory refuses to be known for her disease, despite the obvious limitations of it. While viewers may initially see her through the eyes of sadness, Mallory’s refusal to lean into anything but the power of life makes her something of a force of nature.
Though life may seem fleeting, she’s determined to live it.
As a result, Soul serves as a reminder of the impact that one person can have on the world. Although Mallory may not have directly instituted global change, the ripple effects of her life have reached many. Beyond the love that she shares with her friends and family, Mallory’s experiences have connected deeply with the hearts of those who are enduring the same struggles. With the release of her book, Mallory has posthumously become an example of what it means to push beyond her limitations simply by changing her perspective. That’s not to say that she isn’t forthright with her feelings. (In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There is absolutely no naivety within her about her own suffering and pending mortality.) However, her decision to live for the moment serves as a reminder that each minute of our lives has value, regardless of the situation.
For Mallory, every day consists of a series of decisions on how she is going to handle the challenges in front of her. Sometimes, they are absolutely deflating and frustrating. However, whenever possible, she looks to find ways to experience the joys of life that others are allowed to have. In doing so, this young woman steps beyond her circumstances without ever being blind to them, allowing her to see light within the proverbial tunnel as opposed to ‘at the end of it’.
To her, hope is a choice.
Although the film speaks to the trauma of living with a difficult disease, it’s Mallory’s joy that becomes infectious. Whereas Salt in My Soul could have solely been a film honouring a young woman who lived with insurmountable challenges, instead Soul is an absolute celebration of life in the midst of those struggles. This is a film which fully understands the realities of pain and disease yet manages to highlight the emotionally-healing power of recognizing the value of the moment.
In other words, this is a film that’s good for the soul.
Salt in My Soul is available in NY and LA on January 21st, 2022 with VOD releases on January 25th, 2022.