An actress struggles to connect with her disfigured co-star on the set of a European auteur’s debut. Through pitch-black satire, ‘Chained for Life’ examines the treatment of disability on screen and on set.

Mabel (Jess Weixler, Teeth) and Rosenthal (Adam Pearson, Under the Skin) both hired for their looks — meet on the set of a horror movie in this surreal examination of how those with physical differences are portrayed on film.

Director Aaron Schimberg (who has undergone dozens of reconstructive surgeries throughout his life to address a bilateral cleft palate) has crafted a wholly original, marvelously layered and deeply touching examination of how we define and idolize beauty, and use art as a proxy for our feelings about physical differences.


Is this a black comedy? A romance? Political commentary? Psychological thriller? A rumination about life on a film set? Perhaps it’s all of these.
The finest, funniest, and most cryptically thoughtful film on the subject (of ableism) that I’ve seen in this or any year.