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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Movies about Suicide

I saw The Skeleton Twins a while back, but just finished Before I Disappear. The former had some big names behind it (Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson), and it was good, but I absolutely loved the latter.

They're both about a brother and sister finding a way to connect and saving each other in the process. They both start with a suicide interrupted by an important phone call.

Wiig and Hader are excellent as estranged twins in this drama. They coincidentally try to kill themselves on the same day, then spend the film trying to recover. But I would have been okay with them living or dying. I wanted to know what happened to them, but I wasn't routing for them. It's nice that they lived though.

Before I Disappear started life as a 19 minute short by Shawn Christensen called Curfew, about a man trying to commit suicide until his estranged sister calls begging him to watch her daughter for her. Both films have the same actors, but they're a couple years older.

It's not just grittier in location choices and set-up, it's more real and raw. We're right with Richie as he makes all the questionable decisions he makes. By the end of the movie, I was completely invested in what might happen to him.

Of course it's not the case that people need an external reason to commit suicide, but when Richie attempted his life, I completely understood why he would go down that path. In The Skeleton Twins, I understood on an intellectual level only. They didn't let me in deeply enough for me to resign myself to their suffering. They seemed more self-absorbed than depressed. It's not, of course, that we can easily judge depression from the outside, but in a film like this, we need to feel it in the characters. It helps if we like them a bit better too. I love Wiig and Hader, but their characters were pretty thoughtless. Still, their on-screen chemistry made it enjoyable to watch.

I'd give Skeleton Twins a B and Before I Disappear an A.

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