The Movie Waffler New to VOD - SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT DYING | The Movie Waffler


A depressed young woman embarks on a relationship with a new co-worker.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Rachel Lambert

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Dave Merheje, Parvesh Cheena, Marcia DeBonis


We're all aliens masquerading as humans; some of us just pull it off more convincingly than others. When we emerge from the womb we might as well be crash-landing on a distant world. We know nothing of our new surroundings, or the people that inhabit it. But if we want to survive we need to start blending in. Keep your head down and never reveal what's really under your human skin suit. History tells us that people who stand out don't tend to fare too well on planet Earth.

But some people just don't feel comfortable wearing human skin. Or as a character in director Rachel Lambert's Sometimes I Think About Dying puts it, "It's hard, isn't it, being a person?"

Sometimes I Think About Dying review

Fran (Daisy Ridley) struggles with being a person, and with being around other people. The mundanity of her life as an office drone is enlivened by elaborate fantasies of dying, visualised by Lambert in the manner of Bud Cort's fake suicide attempts in Harold & Maude (in this respect this would make a great double bill with Carolina Cavalli's Amanda): a giant crane outside her office window becomes a gallows; a snake creeps up on her while working; she's burned alive on a beach etc. Her co-workers are a friendly bunch but Fran lurks on their periphery, displaying perhaps the superiority complex that so often fuels introversion. They're constantly joking but they never make Fran laugh. The office, all harsh fluorescent lights and unadorned corridors, would drive most people mad, but Fran isn't bothered by her physical surroundings so much as having to share the space with other people.

Fran is shook from her stupor by the arrival of new employee Robert (Dave Merheje). He makes jokes, but his puns are clever. When asked by his new boss to tell the room something he enjoys, he replies with "uncomfortable silences," causing Fran to giggle while her co-workers react like an AI asked a question it hasn't been programmed to comprehend.

Sometimes I Think About Dying review

When Fran accepts Robert's invitation to go see a movie, it sparks an offbeat, complicated romance that's as much will-they-should-they as will-they-won't-they. Robert's extroverted personality brings Fran out of her shell (in one charming scene she wins the hearts of his friends by describing one of her elaborate death fantasies as part of a party game) but Fran has convinced herself that she couldn't possibly be interesting to another person to such a degree that she's in danger of living down to her low self-esteem. Attempts to make small talk on Robert's part are met with angry rebuttals and accusations of prying. Yet she's clearly attracted to him. Fran wants to live quietly in Robert's space without having to be a person for him. Unfortunately that's something you only get to do when a relationship has developed. The dating stage requires you to be a person, even if you have to be someone else. It's exhausting, isn't it?

Ridley is really only known for her role in the Star Wars franchise, so her performance here almost feels like we're seeing her for the first time, and she's revelatory. She proves herself a consummate screen actor, conveying multitudes through simple physical gestures like angling her head in a manner that hides her face, or moving her hands awkwardly like an alien who finds themselves possessing fingers for the first time. Her performance is reminiscent of Scarlett Johansson's turn in Under the Skin, and while Ridley may not literally be playing an alien discovering what it means to be human, she might as well be. Attractive stars can often struggle when they have to play a "normie," but Ridley does a fine job of convincing us that Fran doesn't realise that she looks like Daisy Ridley.

Sometimes I Think About Dying review

While the movie's ethos may boil down to the simple statement that being human is a lot of work but ultimately worth it, it doesn't sugar coat things. As a potential love interest, Robert may be charming and witty and willing to spend time with Fran when her self-hatred leads her to lash out defensively at him, but we're never fully convinced that the two belong together. There's enough evidence offered that Robert probably won't be there for Fran when she needs him most, but for Fran he's here now, and in our journey to become human sometimes we just need someone to be with us in the present.

Sometimes I Think About Dying is on UK/ROI VOD now.