Superhuman: Giants

2007, Health  -  47 min Leave a Comment
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The subjects of the documentary Superhuman: Giants are literally three in a million. That's the average number of people in the world who classify as giants by standing over seven feet in height. Some regard them with awe-struck wonder while others may disrespectfully look upon them as circus sideshows. The film sets out to humanize and deepen understanding by allowing them to share their unique life experiences, and by investigating the evolutionary science behind their enormous growth.

For some, the status of giant has afforded a unique niche in the workplace. Such was the case for Christopher Greener, a 63-year old who at one time set the record as the tallest man in Britain before his death in early 2015. Greener served as the provocative focal point in the world of advertising, where his imposing stature provided the perfect visual counterbalance to a variety of products.

Back in the United States, the filmmakers catch up with one of the tallest women in the country. Alana Renaud stood the same height as her mother at the age of nine, and her growth continued to push her to the boundaries of seven feet. Outgoing and gregarious, Renaud's towering presence often proved a hindrance in her personal life until she found a confident man who was not intimidated by her physical dominance.

But beyond the relationship issues and the endless inquisitions from startled spectators, many of the world's tallest people live under the constant threat of tremendous physical distress. The pituitary gland is responsible for regulating the body's growth. In Greener's case, the gland was burdened early in his life by the presence of a tumor, which caused a massive growth spurt of 22 inches over a brief period of time. Free of the tumor, Greener's size brought forth a series of additional health complications, such as a precariously oversized heart and overextended bones.

Superhuman: Giants provides a fascinating and playful viewing experience, but it's also surprisingly inspiring. In spite of their challenges, each of the film's subjects are as large in positive spirit as they are in height. We can learn a lot from their view of the world.