Thursday, 14 August 2014

why are you sad - a film review

A bit of a change from the usual content today, as I have a film review to share with you. The film in question is an independent short film written and directed by a good friend of mine and that I was fortunate enough to see before its official release.

Why Are You Sad is a film that I have been following for a while through its various stages of development. When I was offered the opportunity to view the film before its official release, I was excited to see the finished product. The second film from independent production company Rianne Pictures follows Kyla, a young girl who returns home after a failed suicide attempt. The film explores how Kyla’s actions have affected her and those around her.

The title conveys a very prominent theme, both in the film and in society in general: the tendency of people to misunderstand mental illness and the struggle that can lead to a suicide attempt. This is clearly portrayed in Kyla’s friend struggling to understand what exactly Kyla had to be sad about. The scene is poignant, and the alienation and isolation that Kyla and other young people in similar situations feel is clear.

Kyla’s boyfriend Wes, on the other hand, tells her how worried he was about her, and that he has spent a lot of time wondering if he had missed some vital sign that should have warned him of what was to come. The sequence with Wes was one that I rewatched a couple of times as I found it so powerful and such a stark contrast to the reaction of Kyla’s friends. It is clear that he deeply cares about Kyla and wants to help her to be happy again, and Matthew Harvey’s portrayal of Wes is very endearing.

Something which I found particularly impressive about the film is the way that it is edited, cutting between Kyla’s conversation with her therapist and friends and her memories of life before. This technique is representative of Kyla’s struggle to overcome the events of the film: she is trying to move forward with her life but is worried that she will be constantly reminded of what she has done and will struggle to leave it in the past. It is also very well written, a perfect balance of conversations between friends that feel natural and Kyla’s much deeper conversation with her therapist that almost acts as the film’s narration. This conversation also did an excellent job of showcasing the talents of Grace Morrison, who plays Kyla, and the young actress does an incredible job of showing both sides of such a conflicted character.

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the excellent use of music in the film. It was absolutely beautiful without overpowering the plot and was used at exactly the right moments. The final sequence, as Kyla begins to see a way through her struggles and becomes more hopeful, is absolutely beautiful and brought a huge smile to my face.

The topics dealt with in this film are obviously sensitive ones, that need to be handled with the utmost care.  Caris Rianne deals with them with the requisite amount of respect sensitivity and the end result is a beautiful short film. Considering that this film was produced on a shoestring budget with minimal crew, it really is astounding to see the final product. I can’t wait to see what Rianne Pictures come up with next, as ‘Why Are You Sad’ shows incredible potential.

Why Are You Sad will be released online at 7pm on Friday 29th August. You can find out more about Rianne Pictures here  and read the director’s statement about the film here.

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