Film Review: Sensitive

The Sensual World of The Unseen By Photographer Duane Michaels

Are you someone who blocks your ears when you hear the emergency services drive past? Are you someone who gets freaked out in crowds? Do you seem to intuit and understand other people and all of their problems in a very sophisticated way, without really trying? Do you easily take on the energy of other people and find it heavy and tiring? Well you might be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), like I am.

This documentary film Sensitive is all about being a highly sensitive person. This idea of doing a documentary about being sensitive may seem like hippy-dippy mumbo-jumbo, symptomatic of the way every human quirk seems to be pathologised and given a name nowadays.

But before you get all cynical about it, you should give it a watch. The documentary film presents a lot of evidence-based research about high sensitivity to external stimuli and how this is really a thing and around 20% of people in the population. It has a genetic component, but it’s also partly a learnt coping mechanism as well.

Being highly sensitive is not actually a pathology, disease or condition. Rather – its simply a personality trait, that can be either be harnessed to make you mentally healthy, or when it’s misunderstood or mismanaged by you – it can also make you mentally unwell.

This documentary blew my brain apart. I find it immensely comforting knowing that there are other people out there who are just like me. In fact about 20% of all people are highly sensitive. Being a highly sensitive person and socially anxious and introverted are all uncomfortable bedfellows.

However, as the documentary explains. Highly sensitive people can frequently excel in many areas including the arts and leadership, because they are naturally empathetic to others’ emotions, are good listeners and can read complex relationships and provide well-thought out solutions.

Highly sensitive people are also frequently artists, musicians and writers because they have an intensive and brilliant insight into the emotional landscape of people.

The Sensual World of The Unseen By Photographer Duane Michaels
Photographer Duane Michals knows a thing or two about being sensitive

Also, you will get to see Alanis Morrisette talk about being highly sensitive and how she coped with being mobbed constantly by people in the 90’s.

This is a fascinating documentary, you can watch it for free on Kanopy. You may be able to access this free streaming film service using your library card. Some libraries offer it, some don’t. I hope you manage to watch it, it’s well worth it!

Watch Sensitive on Kanopy

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

6 thoughts on “Film Review: Sensitive

  1. Thanks for the info on the doc which is new to me. I can relate to the mismanaged aspect you mention, I’m not good at taking mindfulness breaks during the day, would probably help with the oversimulation and cause less tiredness! But we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. I find sunglasses is good to use to protect against stimulation, though healthy to get a bit of sun in your eyes.


    1. Yeah me too Chris. I am no good at dedicating time for mindfulness. I have started this month on the Waking Up app by Sam Harris which is a combination of daily mindfulness meditation and podcasts he does about mindfulness, I think the app normally costs money but it’s free until the end of the year. After doing it a few days I am loving it, really high quality. A good way to switch off from all of the over-stimulation.


    1. I read that book and really liked it, yes it is similar to that. Although the documentary is more about emotional sensitivity which is related. Like introversion it can be either a great thing when people understand themselves well, or it can lead to pain when people are misunderstood by others or they don’t really understand themselves. I really loved the documentary, it is comforting to know that there are others out there like that.


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