Resilience – the film

Film 800 small

Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope is a one-hour documentary, directed and produced by Robert Redford’s son, James, that delves into the science behind how extreme or prolonged stressful experience in childhood can affect brain development, leading to health and social problems across the lifespan. This is now recognised to be a leading cause of many physical, mental and social issues.

The film has been used in communities around the world to raise awareness of adverse childhood experiences and initiate discussions and actions to prevent and mitigate their effects. There have been over 60,000 showings to date.

For example, in 2017, in Scotland, nearly 2500 people attended 28 screenings in communities across the country. People were drawn predominantly by a wish to better understand toxic stress, to gain practical tips on how to help, or to reflect on ways in which trauma has impacted on their personal life. The insights many attendees gained sparked in them a greater sense of compassion and moral responsibility for action. A huge interest in ACEs now exists amongst the Scottish public, transcending professions, sectors and agencies. There is a growing insistence that public policies be adapted to address the impact of toxic stress.

The Resilience film reveals that toxic stress can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death.

While the broader impacts of poverty worsen the risk, no segment of society is immune. Resilience, however, also chronicles the dawn of a movement that is determined to fight back. Trailblazers in parenting groups and institutions such as health, education, police and social welfare are using new ways to protect children from the insidious effects of toxic stress.

If you are a parent, professional working in education, children’s services or mental health, a counsellor or trainee counsellor, law enforcement, health services or just interested in the impact of adverse childhood experiences, then this film is a must see for you.

“The child may not remember, but the body remembers.”

See 2 min trailer here:



Find out about the impact that has been made by showing the film and discussing its contents - go to 'The impact of showing Resilience'.