Sometimes I Think About Dying Review
Sometimes I Think About Dying (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Rachel Lambert, written by Stefanie Abel Horowitz, Kevin Armento and Katy Wright-Mead and starring Daisy Ridley, Dave Merheje, Parvesh Cheena, Marcia DeBonis, Megan Stalter, Brittany O’Grady, Bree Elrod, Lauren Beveridge, Ayanna Berkshire, Sean Tarjyoto, Jeb Berrier, Rich Hinz and June Eisler.
Rachel Lambert’s earnest new drama, Sometimes I Think About Dying, is a sweet-natured movie with a bit of a dark edge to it that makes it somewhat of an oddity in the world of cinema. One scene has a very large snake surrounding the main character, Fran (Daisy Ridley), and at this point early in the film, I wanted to know what, exactly, the snake symbolized. I still can’t figure it out unless I try to look it up online. It’s little flaws like that which will make viewers question what Lambert is trying to do with some individual scenes within this new picture. However, so much about Sometimes I Think About Dying is on the mark that it’s easy to enjoy it if you don’t think too hard about some of the weird scenes that occur throughout the movie’s relatively short running time.
Ridley plays the central role in the picture as a relatively young woman who works in a small office. Her name is Fran. This casting choice was another slight issue I had with the movie. Obviously, the film plays down the actress’s looks a little but she feels a bit miscast at the outset of the movie. Luckily, because of the character’s quirks, it becomes a bit easier for viewers to believe Ridley in the role as the movie progresses. Ridley is good in her part and is convincing. The wardrobe choices are also beneficial to believing Ridley in the role. This film gets a lot of shots of her traditional flat shoes to sort of imply she has something of a flat personality. But, as the movie develops its story line, Fran becomes more fleshed out as a character.
This picture aptly captures the feel of a small office setting. An older woman named Carol (a very well chosen Marcia DeBonis) is about to retire. Fran is asked to sign her “goodbye” card but although she puts a salutation, Fran doesn’t sign her name to it. Everybody is in a circle around a table as the new employee, a middle-aged guy named Robert (David Merheje), is introduced to the crew. Everyone has to say their name and their favorite food. Fran gets to speak but she chooses just to mutter her name and the words, “cottage cheese.” For some reason, Robert and Fran get involved in an online chat about office supplies that he has to order and the pair soon ends up going out on a date.
The date is cute. They go to a movie together. Robert is a big movie buff but Fran doesn’t really understand the obsession with films that Robert has. They share some kind of blueberry pie together afterwards and bond. Of course, the development of their relationship is scarce since Fran doesn’t offer Robert too many details about her life. In fact, she doesn’t give him much to work with at all. Robert’s life is a like an open book and Fran’s is like an unopened book without a synopsis on the cover.
There are scenes interspersed throughout the film such as shots of a local crane that swings back and forth and the aforementioned snake slithering. They sort of signify Fran’s feelings as she seems as if she’s wasting away in the small town the movie is set in. There is also a delightful sequence where Robert and Fran go to a party and play a mystery game with other local people and folks from their job. It’s entertaining to watch even if only slightly develops the story.
Ridley makes the viewer believe in her character and the audience will eventually get to like her. There are slow-moving scenes that are nevertheless entertaining as they help paint the picture of the small life that Fran leads. The best scene in the film re-introduces Carol who is supposed to be on a cruise. That’s a very touching sequence as we learn more about Carol’s retirement and her situation at home. Ridley and DeBonis have a good rapport together in this sequence.
Dave Merheje, as Robert, is personable enough on screen although it’s hard to believe Fran and Robert would actually date so fast given their completely opposite personalities. Director Lambert brings a magic touch to the film, though, which makes it hard to resist these characters and the audience will end up rooting for Fran and Robert as a couple despite all the odds that are stacked against them. The ending predictably offers no easy answers as to what’s to come for the pair.
Sometimes I Think About Dying has a lot going for it so I recommend seeing it. Ridley, who has played in Star Wars movies, is believable and rarely, if ever, hits a false note in her performance. When you first see her, you may think she’s too glamorous for the role but by the time the movie ends, you’ll believe Fran’s trials and tribulations. It’s a good picture and Ridley is the primary reason why. Outside of Star Wars films, I can’t wait to see what she does next.
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