"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Finally, a movie about women's mental health with none clichés

Director Rachel Lambert's sweet and sedate film Sometimes I Think About Dying frames Suicidal thoughts As a survival strategy.

In the film, introverted office employee Fran (Daisy Ridley) takes solace in increasingly elaborate, realistic and aesthetic fantasies of her death, including hanging from a crane, lying dead within the woods and being attacked by a python. But she is seemingly not suicidal. Or even depressed.

He is isolated and lacks connection, but this appears to be by alternative because of social anxiety. Fran doesn't want to evolve to the social expectations she sees her peers performing awkwardly to slot in.

The film begins with the retirement of the doting partner, Carol (Marcia de Bonis), and pivots with the arrival of her alternative, Robert (Dave Murheje), who has moved away after a divorce. Amiable Robert uses gentle humor to slot in at work, however the moment he reaches out to Fran on a piece message board reveals that he, too, wants a deeper connection.

Lambert understands the gendered nature of the pressures we feel and the strategies we adopt to suit into social and work environments. Men are apparently more easily accepted as being eccentric or laconic than women, as we see with many colleagues in France.

Soon Fran and Robert go to the cinema and a restaurant for pie, but these don't feel like dates, just step one in a tentative friendship.

As Robert struggles to get information from Fran about who he's and what he likes, the film's fantasy sequences give us access to the complex and artistic inner world he escapes to with a view to feel real. goes Lambert and Ridley really understand and connect with France's psyche, and portray it in a way that avoids either pathologizing it or relegating it to a weird indie movie cliché.

Sometimes I Think About Dying Trailer

Mental health on screen

Recently accomplished a Book On Historical interactions of psychology and cinemaI've seen lots of movies about young women quietly – and sometimes not so quietly – descending into “obsession.”

In movies equivalent to Repulsion (1965), Images (1972) and Black Swan (2010), young female characters have violent experiences of psychosis. Exploited by male writers To confuse and impress audiences and critics.

The prevalence and persistence of this cinematic phenomenon prompted Canadian film critic Kerr LaJanes to create a selected classification of them. “Psychic Women” Sub-genres These movies typically stimulate psychological think pieces that ask questions equivalent to: “What mental health problem does he really have?”.

Lambert's film is therapeutic quite than diagnostic. She doesn't want Fran to alter. To feel as comfortable around other people as she is alone.

One of France's fantasy series.
Release the cycle

The film ends with Fran sharing her titular secret with Robert, opening the opportunity of understanding, intimacy and connection – for true friendship quite than romance. As the film shows, the necessity for connection and intimacy is a universal human need quite than a person mental health issue.

As the recently retired Carol explains: “It's hard to be a person.” This is the straightforward but vital message of the film.

Live and dream

In one scene, Fran goes to purchase donuts with the office as a goodwill gesture and Robert as an olive branch. At the cafe, she bumps into Carol. This is essentially the most poignant moment of the film.

Fran asks why Carol isn't on the dream trip along with her husband that she's long saved up for, and retired to enjoy. Carol's husband suffers a debilitating stroke on the eve of their trip, and now she's just waiting to see if he ever recovers. Carol spent her working life dreaming of living, and that dream has been brutally dashed.

In the film, dreams of living and dreams of dying are two sides of the identical coin. They are alternative strategies for coping in a standard but uncertain world.

Dave Murray and Daisy Ridley in a corridor
Dave Murray and Daisy Ridley Sometimes I Think About Dying.
Release the cycle

Ultimately – as in Harold and Maude (1971), an older but similarly unorthodox film that makes the connection between social isolation and suicidal thoughts – the protagonist's dream of dying is definitely a path towards connection, acceptance and freedom. There are ways and desires.

Sometimes I Think About Dying ends with Fran and Robert embracing within the office copy room, which is now taken over by the forest floor on which Fran first imagined the dead lying. was

France's inner world and outer reality are integrated and dropped at life through her association with Robert. A slow camera pan revealing Fran's merged worlds is accompanied by a smile and a song from Disney's 1937 animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Lambert said it was an unusual but effective song alternative. “Found” by accident. It was initially suggested by the editor as a joke, but then they each realized it was emotionally sound.

This final act of freeing yourself from expectations and doing what feels right is a fitting end to this cliché-defying film.