Can chronic pain be caused by such things as childhood adversity, repressed anger and unchecked stress as opposed to a structural abnormality?
Dr. John Sarno, the bestselling author and longtime rehabilitation specialist who died in June at 93, had long posited this kind of mind-body connection. His theory, which he dubbed Tension Myoneural Syndrome, gained him legions of loyal followers as well as his share of naysayers, particularly in the mainstream medical community.
Although Sarno is the intended subject of the sometimes intriguing documentary "All the Rage (Saved by Sarno)," the focus of the film is hijacked midway by Michael Galinsky, who co-wrote, produced and directed with his wife, Suki Hawley, and David Beilinson. As a result, we see and hear far too much about Galinsky — his family, his pain, his past — and not enough of the practical, step-by-step workings of Sarno's reasonable, if hard-to-quantify, philosophy.
The film, which was shot from 2004 to 2016, features chats with Sarno and his wife and daughter, as well as with such supporters as Howard Stern, Larry David, former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and an eclectic mix of physicians and mental health professionals.
However, the dearth of input from medical practitioners and others who have opposed Sarno's controversial methodology makes this feel like an awfully one-sided exploration.
"All the Rage (Saved by Sarno)"
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills