DOC-U-MENTALLY: The Film [Review]

Breaking this unintentional hiatus to tell you (read: shout from the rooftops) that I have watched Doc-u-mentally and




I wrote about the crowdfunder for this documentary last year: a “labour of love” that would follow five young South African doctors during one 30 hour call.*

And they made it. And it was wonderful.

I had the pleasure of watching this film at a screening organised by JUDASA this past week, and I was glued to the screen (projector) from the opening shot. So was the rest of the audience.

The five young doctors that were filmed were really fun to watch. The diversity had the potentialto feel a little bit forced, but the producers made it clear from the beginning that it would be “five doctors, five cultures”. They were all great in front of the camera, their personalities entertaining, their emotions real.

I am no film-critic, but I thought the videography was fantastic. This was not an amateur film. Every shot is purposeful. I loved the focus on little things – especially the hands of the doctors.**

I enjoyed the balance of seriousness and humour – because, let’s face it, there is a lot of humour in medicine – even if a lot of it is dark humour.

As a junior doctor, this film gave me something to connect with. It made me feel seen. It made me feel connected to other doctors around the country. We know, rationally, that we are not alone, but sometimes it is hard to believe that we are not the only struggling doctor who sometimes questions their sanity.

It made me realise that even if our petitions sometimes fall on unwilling ears, we are not unheard.

I think that for medical students (current and prospective), this film will be a real look into their future. I think for some it may be a wake-up call. But I also think that for some, it will be an inspiration. Some will feel less alone. Some will realise that they are in the right field after all. And some will decide they are definitely in the wrong field, and that’s okay too.

I took two non-medical friends with me to the screening. They seemed to enjoy it too. They said it was intense. Maybe a little bit gory for those sensitive to blood – but nothing too horrible. Maybe a little bit sad. They both said afterwards that even though I had explained to them what being “on call” meant, they hadn’t really understood – but now, they did.

I want every medical student and doctor to see this. Also the older doctors.

I want the non-medical public to see this. Families of doctors. Families of patients. Politicians – or am I asking too much?

My only complaint is that this is not yet available for sale to the public. I want my own copy!

I hope you will watch it. Below I have linked the upcoming screenings I have been able to find:

Tygerberg Campus on 11 September 2017

Wits Medical School 13 September 2017

Wits Medical School 22 September 2017 (not sure if both Wits dates are confirmed)

*For the life of me, cannot find that post now. It shows up in my searches but I can’t seem to access it. Help?!

**Only after drafting this post did I read that Andre Meyer from Meyer Productions won the SAFTA for Best Cinematography for this film in March this year. 


  1. Robyn says:

    That documentary sounds fantastic! Will it ever be available to an international audience?

    1. barefootmegz says:

      I think it’s going to show at some international film fests soon… and after that, I hope it will be available somehow!

  2. I’m so excited to see it 🤗 They are coming to Tygerberg next week

    1. barefootmegz says:

      And? What did you think?? 🙂

      1. It was so cool ! I loved it , I’m not even working yet but everything was so relatable ! The subtle humour was perfect ! 😂😂

  3. Lwazi says:

    I tried enquiring about It when I was in the country, still not available for the public. Hopefully, when It is it’ll be international

  4. Lwazi says:

    Can’t wait to watch it. I’ve told all medIc friends about it, SA and foreign.

    1. barefootmegz says:

      I hope you get to watch it soon!

  5. I’ll keep my eyes open for it here in Canada. I remember as a resident often feeling frustrated by how little my friends/family understood what we went through while on call. My Mom used to comment about me having “a day off” on my post-call days! Hopefully this documentary will help lots of non-medical people appreciate what physicians in training (and many in practice) go through.

    1. barefootmegz says:

      I do hope it will show internationally at some point… I’ll let you know if I hear anything!
      I’ve also had the comment about the “day off”… a day sleeping is hardly a day “off”!

  6. ackeldatter says:

    Now I want to see this, too! Your review and the trailers are very enticing. Maybe it will be one day on Netflix, or …? Hope all is well Mariechen, take care.

    1. barefootmegz says:

      Thanks Nancy! I do hope it will be on Netflix one day…

  7. Sounds really awesome. I’ve wanted to see it since you posted about it ages ago.

    Will probably watch it next year, at home :-((

    1. barefootmegz says:

      It’s available for sale now! Check on their facebook page!

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