Parker’s review published on Letterboxd:
I am a reactionary person, especially when it comes to seeing myself in the world around me. I have always raised my nose at the idea of being normal, of relating to everyone, of the seemingly gruesome difficulty of my own experiences being wholly and completely universal. As I’ve found myself and my strongest passion in film and music, this has come to be a hurdle I’m constantly failing to jump. Confrontation is my biggest nightmare, especially with myself, and the harsh reality that I, as an individual, am not the protagonist has arguably introduced the most formidable confrontation with myself ever since I became what I call “a real person”, which for me was at age like…17 or 18. Film has provided a wholly necessary form of exposure therapy in this way; I see myself in something and I raise my nose. The recognition hurts me. I habitually reject the fact that the only cure for my main character syndrome is lots and lots of time, life experience that could be considered wasted, hurtling toward death just for the sake of learning something. There’s growth in this type of reckoning.
By this notion, this film in all respects could be either my greatest friend or my worst enemy, likely both. These ideas, these universal truths are the main currency with which this story transacts. I knew this going in, from things that I read and stuff I’ve heard. A dilemma arises when things like this happen; I recognize the arrogance that comes with resisting confrontation. I want to be humble and open, to yield to how normal I am, to find peace in that transience and change. So when I started to see these humanisms at play, I attempted to quell my resentment. Get over yourself, Parker. Everyone feels the pressure of decisions, and death, the distance / proximity between ourselves, et cetera. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. It’s a rally between arrogance and humility every time I engage with something like this.
And then at some point during this, I completely gave the fuck up. Resisting a response of Main Character Syndrome when watching a film is pointless when the film itself has some of the worst Main Character Syndrome you’ve ever seen. I believe in so much of this film and its ideas. It’s ambitious for a multiplex outing, and at the very least I appreciate its existence. We are all fighting collision with each other. Optimism is sometimes a great healing force. Life is realizing we are all broken, but we are broken together. But when you say these things, glass-half-full ideas that go against the realistic grain of the lives we all live, in a way that is so didactic, so reprehensibly and willfully ignorant toward the bitter truths of life, all of that hopefulness loses its power. Loving one another is not this fucking simple, and the complicated nature of remaining hopeful in a dark world cannot be explained kindergarten-style through an Avengers-flavored Lady Bird remake epic pogchamp ending explained style (everyone seems to be missing the Russo Brothers producer creds). The grandeur is abhorrent, the runtime is inexcusable, and accepting the harsh reality of life is not something that can be explained with this level of saccharine naivety.
I really, really wanted to like this, against my instinct and better judgment. I saw much of myself and my worldview in it, and I tried to open my heart to it with every ounce of strength I could muster. But at the end of the day, suicide cannot and should not be equated to a fucking bagel.