One of the highlights coming out of the Fantasia Film Festival this year is Rachel Lambert’s, Sometimes I Think About Dying. Although the name might suggest a straight ahead horror film, it’s more of an awkward office romance staring Daisy Ridley (Star Wars VII-IX) who does indeed, sometimes think about dying. The tone of the film is somewhere between Lost in Translation and Office Space, and manages to balance the bleak and the comedic very well. Throw in some romance and self discovery and you’ve got one of the better movies of the year.
Ridley’s performance of our lead character Fran is timid and reserved which is a stark contrast to that which we’ve seen her do before. Her love interest Robert (Dave Merheje) is more of an open book, cracking jokes at the office and sharing stories of his past. He even admits he’s never had a job before and doesn’t know what he’s doing. Their difference in personalities lead to a healthy dose of awkward comedy but as the relationship develops the laughs evolve into sad self realizations. The film touches on loneliness, self isolation, divorce and as the title implies, death. Despite its heaviness it still manages to have an air of optimism about it. Showing that growth is possible for our characters and suggest maybe it’s ok to think about death sometimes.
Death is such a taboo in American culture. It’s not something we are taught as children to cope with and it’s often skirted in adult conversation. It’s unpleasant, thus it gets brushed off despite its inevitability. Case in point, this movie shares filming locations with The Goonies in Astoria, Oregon. And as we all know, Goonies never say die. The title of this film feels like a very reluctant, yet healthy admission. Death is something we all think about but would we be so bold as to admit it? Fran eventually does, and you feel the burden lift from her shoulders as her ability to live her life expands.
The humor in this really hit home for me. Much of it is office based including awkward meetings complete with icebreakers, incompetent coworkers, and the adventure of trying to date the new hire. If you’ve ever worked in an office you know it can be extremely mundane, which the film highlights in a very hilarious way. Some of the dating scenes are very funny and relatable as well. Trying to get to know someone on a first date can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s even a challenge on the second and third, which the movie shows in all of its awkward glory.
To sum it up, Sometimes I Think About Dying is a very relatable, human story. It’s reserved, yet stylish and very beautifully shot. The setting of Astoria is as charming and gloomy as the story itself. The lead performances are top notch and leave you wanting more.
Be sure to check out Sometimes I Think About Dying in theaters later this year.