Gabby Giffords’ life story hits big screen, opens nationwide July 15

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 7:41 PM MST|Updated: Jul. 5, 2022 at 1:13 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” is the title of a new movie about the life of the former congresswoman who overcame tremendous odds to not only live but also live a productive life.

Directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West, it’s a love story between Giffords and former astronaut and now Sen. Mark Kelly.

“Julie and I love telling feminist love stories, that’s kind of our brand a little bit,” West said. “Certainly, this one is an extraordinary love story.”

The trailer for the movie can be watched below.

Extraordinary because Giffords was an up-and-coming politician who was shot in the head during a “Congress on Your Corner” constituents meeting in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011. Six people were killed and 13 were injured.

Few people survive the traumatic brain injury Giffords suffered, but even fewer recover enough to lead a productive life.

Some of that recovery, according to the directors, happened because of Kelly, who was by her side every step of the way.

“Going from near-death to being able to walk and talk and gradually working back to a fully active, extremely impactful, and surprisingly joyous life... It had all the elements we thought to make a great film,” Cohen said.

The movie shows the incredible determination Giffords displayed in her efforts to speak and walk again.

“The words are in my brain, I just can’t get them out,” Giffords said in the film. “I love to talk, I’m Gabby Giffords and I’m so quiet now.”

The directors hope people who see the film come away as inspired as they are after spending two years with the couple.

“I think it’s a story about an extraordinary human being who has overcome so much,” West said. “It is a comeback story by someone who has dedicated her life to making the world a better place.”

The movie is also full of surprises especially the piece of skull that was removed soon after the shooting, which Giffords stores in the family freezer as a keepsake.

“In the freezer of the Kelly, Giffords home in a Tupperware container there is a substantially sized portion of Gabby’s skull that was removed right after the shooting that she has chosen to keep,” Cohen said.

And the fact that Giffords can sing just about every 1980s song ever released, which has aided in her therapy.

“We do always want people to make people think when we produce a film but I think in this one we really want people to feel something and take a little piece of that fever and joy and music that are so central to Gabby’s life and come out of the theater feeling motivated and ready to take on the world,” Cohen said.

The movie opens nationwide on July 15.

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