TV Review: Love me,love my face

TV Review: Love me, love my face

Love me, love my faceRating: PGDistributor: ABC2Release Date: Sunday, January 19, 8:30 PMHow much concern do you have for your face? For most of us, when we imagine ourselves, we imagine that small space of skin surrounding our eyes. Consequently we can spend a significant amount of time looking at it and caring for it […]

By Mark HadleyWednesday 15 Jan 2014TV and StreamingReading Time: 3 minutes

Love me, love my face

Rating: PG
Distributor: ABC2
Release Date: Sunday, January 19, 8:30 PM

How much concern do you have for your face? For most of us, when we imagine ourselves, we imagine that small space of skin surrounding our eyes. Consequently we can spend a significant amount of time looking at it and caring for it each day. But what if your face was actually the most repellent thing about you? Could others love you? Could you love yourself? These are the questions raised in this week’s British documentary, Love me, love my face.

This ITV special is built around the life of Jono Lancaster, a 24-year-old man suffering from Treacher Collins syndrome. This is a rare genetic condition that prevents the proper growth of the bones and cartilage that give shape to our faces. Jono was born without cheekbones, ears and a defined jaw line. Sadly it was a sight that his birth mother could not bare. His social services file states she, “… was horrified by the child’s physical appearance and experienced no maternal bonding.” 36 hours after his birth she discharged herself from hospital and Jono was put up for adoption. It’s no wonder then that Jono spent a great deal of time wondering how he could love himself if his birth mother could not bear the sight of him.

Love me, love my face picks up Jono’s story as he endeavours to contact his biological parents, to show them that he has turned out all right. Media attention has focused on his successful three-year relationship with 19-year-old Laura Richards, who he met while working as a gym instructor. It becomes clear that Jono has spent a great deal of time physically compensating for his facial disfigurement by establishing quite defined exercise, tanning and hair routines. His success in these areas, Jono believes, is what has given him the confidence to face the world:

“When I was younger I did find it hard to love myself and questioned how other people could love me. But as I was growing up, I’ve kinda fallen in love with myself. I do like the person I’ve become and I’m proud of the person I’ve become and those feelings aren’t going to change because I believe I’ve achieved so much and nobody can ever take that away from me.”

Love me, love my face is one of those documentaries that attempts to face in two directions. On the one hand it affirms that our physical appearances are important to us and crucial to how others see us. Jono’s notoriety arises from the fact that he doesn’t look like everyone else. But on the other hand Jono’s adoption mother, his girlfriend and his myriad of supporters suggest our value has nothing to do with the way we look. And I believe Jesus would agree.

Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by

Even a cursory read through the Gospels reveals that Jesus’ eyes worked differently from ours. On several occasions he is confronted with figures that annoyed or even repulsed those around him – young children, the wildly yelling Blind Bartimaeus, the prostitute who anointed his feet. In each of these cases the people accompanying focused on the exteriors. Jesus, however, looked on their hearts and made startlingly different decisions about their value. However it’s also worth noting that Jesus would not have reached the implied ITV conclusion, ‘You are beautiful, no matter how you look.’

Like the best people in Love me, love my face, Jesus looks straight past Jono’s disfigurement and into his heart. But it won’t be Jono’s confidence that wins His admiration. It was Bartimaeus’ faith and the prostitute’s repentance that moved Jesus. A modern media might encourage them to build up their confidence but they approached Jesus with nothing in their hands and looked to Him for a firm foundation. My only fear for Jono – and for us – is that we try to build on something less stable. Time can take away both our good looks and success. The people who love us can die or even change their opinion. Lasting confidence only comes from knowing you are valued by a Saviour whose opinion never changes.