Forever a hotbed of controversy, the alarming anti-vaccination movement has another lightning rod on its hands with the new documentary “The Pathological Optimist.” HuffPost has the exclusive trailer for this profile of Andrew Wakefield, a doctor who has been labeled a fraud for advancing dubious claims that link MMR vaccines and autism.
Wakefield, who co-authored a 1998 study that essentially launched the modern anti-vax phenomenon, allowed director Miranda Bailey to follow him for five years as he battled the British Medical Journal on defamation charges. Bailey, who has produced “Swiss Army Man” and “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” sought to chronicle Wakefield’s media coverage and let his role in this scientifically tenuous debate speak for itself. The documentary Wakefield directed himself, “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,” was pulled from last year’s Tribeca Film Festival lineup after facing criticism for its inclusion.
“I’ve always gravitated towards controversial subject matters in the many films I’ve produced,” Bailey said when distributor The Film Arcade acquired the rights to her movie. “The minefield of strong opinions and disagreements on who Andrew Wakefield is or what Andrew Wakefield has done intrigued me. What I found was a startling portrayal of a modern day sisyphus, punished by the media and the public yet continuing to push his rock up the hill over and over again.”
“The Pathological Optimist” opens in theaters Sept. 29, with a VOD release slated for later in the year. Watch the trailer above, and check out an exclusive poster below.