In the center of the recent Tribeca Film Festival scandal surrounding his film VAXXED: From Cover-up to Controversy stands Andrew Wakefield, discredited and stripped of his medical license for his infamous study suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease, and autism. THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST takes us into the inner sanctum of Wakefield and his family from 2011- 2016 as he fights for his day in court in a little known defamation case against the British Medical Journal. Wakefield attempts to clear his name as the media-appointed Father of the Anti-vaccine movement. Director Miranda Bailey weaves a delicate portrait of a man who is THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST utilizing a never-before-seen, full access look at the man at the center of one of the biggest medical and media controversies of our times.
Who is the man behind the most highly controversial, intensely debated topics in modern medicine? In THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST, director Miranda Bailey brings us a character study of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, one of 13 co-authors of a notorious 1998 paper in the UK medical Journal The Lancet, but who became the very public face of what has come to be known as “The Anti-Vax Movement.” An expat from Britain who currently resides in Austin, Texas, Wakefield allowed Bailey and her team to follow him and his family for five years beginning in 2011 as he fought a defamation battle in the courts against the British Medical Journal and journalist Brian Deer. The results of that case – and the self-reflection, pronouncements, and observations of Wakefield, his legal team, wife, and his children – create a complex and incisive look at one of our era’s most fear-provoking and continuously provocative figures. THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST takes no sides, instead letting Wakefield and the battles he fought speak for themselves.
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