Encounter: TIFF 2021 Review

Year: 2021 Runtime: 108 Minutes Director: Michael Pearce Writer(s): Michael Pearce, Joe Barton Stars: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Lucian-River Chauhan, Janina Gavankar Director Michael Pearce’s sophomore effort, “Encounter” (2021), creates an initially engaging sci-fi story that eventually takes a more personal turn that showcases lasting scars of trauma. The film follows a pair of young brothers who end up going on a journey with their … Continue reading Encounter: TIFF 2021 Review

Time to Be Honest: Depression, Film And Me

“So, for how long have you been depressed for?” This was the question once posed to me by a counsellor during our first counselling session. “I dunno.” I shrugged in response. “Ever since I was a kid, I think.” It sounds like an exaggeration but to some extent, it’s true. In my life there have been two consistencies: depression and film. Both elements are so entwined in my life that it’s easier for me to recall the events of a film rather than the events of my life. Continue reading Time to Be Honest: Depression, Film And Me

Review: She Dies Tomorrow

What would you do if  I told you that today was your last day on this planet? Would your galvanized restlessness motivate you to spend every waking moment with the most accessible loved one? Would you, in a state of fear, find the closest possible place to go skydiving? Would you suddenly become religious and confess all your sins to a priest–or would you do the alternative and regurgitate every mistake you’ve ever made with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon in hand? Continue reading Review: She Dies Tomorrow

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Order and Chaos in Society

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” has been on my list for a while; it is one of only three films to have won the Big Five at the Oscars. For you non-Oscar fanatics out there, the Big Five is the coined term for a film that has won all of the five major awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay (original or adapted). “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is based on Ken Kesey’s famous novel from 1962 of the same name, of which I purchased at a used bookstore for $2 and still have yet to read. I’ll get around to that one day, too. All of this being said, there were super high expectations going into this first viewing. Continue reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Order and Chaos in Society

Mental Health Awarenss Month, Retrospective Review: Mary and Max

A two-fold coming-of-age narrative ‘Mary and Max’ (2009) charters the progression of Mary’s, a young, ‘chubby’ and socially anxious Australian into a woman, friendship with Max, a middle-aged Atheistic Jew in America. Pen pals, a support system, their friendship grows as Mary seeks an escape from her abusive, sherry-soaked mother Vera, all marvellous narrated by Australian treasure Barry Humphries. At random, fascinated by the states, Mary picks an address from a U.S phonebook and hopes to receive a reply to her letter. Gradually, as life moves on the pair grow distant, and after taking a degree in psychology, Mary uses her experiences with Max, who suffers from anxiety and lives in isolation due to his Asperger’s syndrome, as a case study for a book. Continue reading Mental Health Awarenss Month, Retrospective Review: Mary and Max

Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: The Virgin Suicides

You wouldn’t imagine a film titled “The Virgin Suicides” (1999) would be beautifully atmospheric and dreamlike. Or maybe you would if you knew it was written and directed by Sofia Coppola who is known for brilliantly capturing an atmosphere with her films whether it’s the 1990s in Los Angeles with “The Bling Ring” (2013) or our collective memory of a lavish queen with “Marie Antoinette” (2006). Coppola’s directorial debut is a tale about five young girls who commit suicide and perhaps more poignantly, the neighborhood boys who are obsessed with them. For as much as it’s a film about mental health and girlhood, it’s also about collective memory and the impact that a few people can have on a community.  Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: The Virgin Suicides

Mental Health Awareness Month: How “Frozen” Thaws Fearful Hearts

When reflecting upon the cinema that we consumed as children, we often remember most fondly the tales that excited us, humoured us, or maybe even frightened us. For many, regardless of generation, Disney has been a big contributor to such memories. But the best children’s tales contain valuable messages, or even truths, in their stories. Although I was a teenager in his last year of high school when Disney’s “Frozen” (2013) was released, it is a film that I believe will allow children and adults alike to recognise and understand lessons in mental health for generations to come. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month: How “Frozen” Thaws Fearful Hearts

12 Monkeys (1995): Trauma and The Prescience of Gilliam’s Vision

Terry Gilliam created a nightmarish vision of the future in 1985 with possibly his best-known film “Brazil.” That proved to be just a warm-up for the mind-bending, chilling dystopia of “12 Monkeys’ (1995) which has only become even more prophetic in the current worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. The husband and wife team of David and Janet Peoples wrote a screenplay that is surprisingly poignant in its subtext of compassion and kindness being vital to treating mental illness.

As much as protagonist James Cole struggles with the anguish of his post-traumatic stress, we now face our own troubling and harrowing present. It is a harsh reminder that while our reality is not as fatally bleak as Cole’s, it is a strain on the mental health of us all. Continue reading 12 Monkeys (1995): Trauma and The Prescience of Gilliam’s Vision

Mental Health Awareness Month: Benny and Joon

“Benny and Joon” (1993) is an odd little concoction of a film. On one hand, it has its cuteness and quirk, and on the other- is a very serious example of one’s struggle with mental illness. Neither can be overlooked, nor appreciated without the other, throughout the course of the film. The melding of these makes it a charismatic picture.

Joon Pearl (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Benny Pearl (Aidan Quinn) are brother and sister. She’s an artist, he’s a mechanic, and he looks after her as her mental illness keeps her from living on her own. They have their own rhythm, and there is safety and harmony in their shared life, but it’s obvious both want more. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month: Benny and Joon