This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Sally Jane Black’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
CW: suicide, graphic gore
I needed to see, but it still hurt.
I just didn't expect it to be like that, to be shown that way. This felt so... condensed, erratic, distorted from the facts that I am familiar with, and then they showed it in a way that... That moment needed to be understood better, made by hands and eyes and hearts that pull at every strand and shape an atmosphere outside of just one performance. Too many details missing, too many details thrown into too brief a window where they should not have been, too much emphasis here when there was so much more to it. Moving the ovary operation (or in this, I suppose, the lack thereof) into this brief window, especially, felt... cheap. They made this cheap, and then they showed it, and it felt like a slap in the face.
This moment has such a dark allure for me. In the early days of the world wide web, Budd Dwyer and other grisly historical moments caught on tape circulated through juvenile shock sites; transgression has always attracted me. Growing up in a town defined by its restrictions made the openness of the Internet all the more appealing. What it ingrained in me is a need to bear witness to moments of trauma, a willingness to use that early inoculation in service to thoughts, feelings, ideas, and mostly to others, to find a way to analyze and therefore protect. So, I had to see this, where someone delved into this moment, this legendary, hidden, out-of-reach Moment, this desecrated grail.
Given how cheap they treated it up til then, I expected them to cut away. Then they didn't. It's partly that reversal of my expectation, but mostly, mostly it's the whole context, from the uneven build up that veers between dehumanizing over-acting (I will stop short of calling it award-baiting, but not short enough) and some manner of grace to the dull, infuriating habit of filming one person at a time in muddy shadow even as they spoke to other people. (We get no interplay. This isolation might have been intentional, but it felt unnecessary here, artless. There are better ways to convey this, ways that emphasize the proximity of others.) This shows depression, but somehow, it doesn't show depression. It's hard to capture this in the wake of that spray of blood across the wall behind her (that will stick with me forever), but it just didn't feel like enough. And then they show it, and for a brief moment, this movie is the movie it should have been.
And then it's not again.