“It looked fun. I wish I could do that.”Anna
Content Warning: suicidal thoughts.
Manu Boyer’s debut feature film successfully straddles the fine line when dramatising mental health of neither sensationalising nor romanticising it. Soon after we meet Anna it is clear she is in the throes of depression, indulging in sex but avoiding intimacy, and planning for her death — she is permanently packing the belongings in her apartment for a “move”. As an indie film this is all presented with raw realism, feeling occasionally voyeuristic with languid shots of an unmotivated Anna spaced out in bed or stumbling around her flat. Although the start of her new friendship with Sam feels somewhat contrived, its awkward nature does not and nor does her overinvestment and overreaction. He is not a fairytale saviour who magically cures her suicidal ideation. The film hints strongly toward trauma in Anna’s youth but elects not to make it explicit (although it is the only explanation for a specific violent outburst that would be otherwise jarring); the focus is not the cause but her current condition and whether she can find a way through. With its slight narrative, the film may offer limited insight but it can be commended for its realism.