If you're a film buff in search of something that'll through your mind in a frenzy, while tugging at their heart strings at the same time, Netflix has something in store for you real soon. The streaming platform dropped the latest trailer for Brain on Fire starring Chloe Grace Moretz embodies all of that and more, as the Susannah Cahalan best-selling memoir adaption is part drama and part psychological thriller.
According to Entertainment Weekly, after making a showstopping appearance in the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, Netflix's 2018 film Brain on Fire will tell of Cahalan's story about being diagnosed with a mysterious disease — from when the 24-year-old New York Post journalist lived life normally, to her journey with trying to get to bottom of what most of the doctors working on her case ultimately could not. Alongside Moretz, who plays Cahalan — which was orginally casted as Dakota Fanning — Jessica Jones' Carrie-Ann Moss, Kong: Skull Island's Thomas Mann, Obvious Child's Jenny Slate, and famed-filmmaker Tyler Perry will round out the cast — taking on the roles of Cahalan's friends and family, and her beloved New York Post colleagues.
Cahalan's memoir, also entitled Brain on Fire, chronicles her life in the midst of her diagnosis in 2009, in which through a series of interviews with close family friends, and a heavy investigation into old medical records, the journalist was able to detail the experience. And while having to backtrack in order to piece together her own story for the memoir, the film's trailer, which was released June 2013, hints that the Summer 2018 project will be told in linear order.
Because the disease, which after being misdiagnosed with bipolar and psychosis was later confirmed to be anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis by neurologist Souhel Najjar, MD, resulted in violent fits and pyschotic behavior, later resulting into catonia, Cahalan has no recollection of exactly what transpired. And so, she had to put her investigative journalist skills to task in order to map it all out.
In an interview with Oprah.com about her experience, Cahalan explained how she even knew something was wrong in the first place. She said,
"I was constantly tired and I'd developed numbness on my left side. I'd also become paranoid that my boyfriend was cheating on me. I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. One psychiatrist told me I was bipolar. Then one day I walked through Times Square and the lights were painfully bright. I was experiencing photophobia, which preceded a massive seizure."
Cahalan notes that through a series of tests which showed that she had an autoimmune disease, and after connecting the dots between her symptoms of "paranoia, psychosis, increased heart rate, and numbness" along her left side, Najjar was able to narrow it down into a "single diagnosis." Before getting the proper diagnosis from Dr. Najjar, however, Cahalan said that her first neurologist told her that her condition came as a result of partying too hard. And she and parents keeping diligent with finding an actual cure eventually led her to becoming just the 217th person in the world to be diagnosed and treated for the disease.
Today, the author and journalist appears to be healthy and thriving, but according to Cahalan's interview with Oprah.com, so many people diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis unfortunately never recover — adding that "about 13 percent of adults who do recover eventually relapse."
Cahalan's seemingly happy and healthy today could totally foreshadow how the Netflix film will end. However, viewers are still sure to be taken on a dynamic rollercoaster filled with twists and turns while tuning in. Brain on Fire enters the Netflix universe June 22, and as any fan of psychologicially intense films will tell you, you won't be able to watch this film only once.