Here’s a review of the documentary. I haven’t seen it myself, but I look forward to it. Thanks for the heads-up.
The doc gives viewers a lot to process, so Nickerson anchors the movie in a few key subjects, chiefly Emily Trim. Trim was one of the school children who witnessed the encounter. Soon after the event, her family packed up and moved to Canada. Nickerson follows Trim as she returns to the Ariel School to help her make peace with her memories.
Focusing on Trim further humanizes the story. It’s easy to look at the Ariel incident as an exciting event. But for the children who were there, the experience was a burden. They grew up wrestling with feelings of confusion, self-doubt, and fear of ridicule. Some of them buried the incident and refused to share it with their significant others to this day.
Trim’s presence in the film forces viewers to confront how the event’s impact has reverberated through the kids’ lives. She processes what happened that day by creating art, and she’s produced a body of work inspired by her otherworldly encounter. Trim channels her complicated feelings onto canvases, creating physical depictions of her inner turmoil. It’s as close as we’ll ever get to being inside these experiencers’ heads.