January 30, 2023

This evaluate is a part of our protection of the 2023 Sundance Movie Competition.

The Pitch: Fran (Daisy Ridley) isn’t a contented individual — however which may simply be as a result of she doesn’t know what happiness is. As a lonely workplace drone with a less-than-glamorous view of the Oregon shoreline exterior her cubicle, Fran retains to herself whereas her office-mates do their greatest to deliver enjoyable into their office — however when a brand new co-worker named Robert (Dave Merheje) joins the workforce, his pleasant nature manages to nudge Fran out of her shell simply sufficient to possibly stay a bit of louder.

No Jedis Right here: If you happen to’re in search of a movie the place characters make lengthy, eloquent speeches about their emotions, Typically I Suppose About Dying is the precise reverse. Director Rachel Lambert’s third movie (primarily based on the quick movie by Stefanie Abel Horowitz) is a deeply inside expertise, one the place the title hovers over each scene despite the fact that its final payoff may be very small and largely unstated; the film’s impression finally ends up being totally depending on the de-glammed Ridley’s efficiency.

Rendered intentionally nameless in her generic office-wear, Ridley rises to the problem with alertness and but additionally a deep properly of self-awareness. Since The Rise of Skywalker premiered in 2019, the Star Wars breakout’s on-screen appearances have been restricted to the forgotten Doug Liman sci-fi movie Chaos Strolling and a quick cameo in Judd Apatow’s The Bubble, and right here, she barely appears able to choosing up a letter opener, not to mention a lightsaber.

However the fragility she presents on display screen as Fran feels deeply felt and recognizable — she’s not a lot misplaced as she is not sure the way to discover herself, a journey Lambert chooses to not rush. Fran’s fantasy life is seen largely within the type of tableaus that will signify her fantasies of dying, however are stuffed with nature and peace — it’s not that she has suicidal ideas, however that she’s craving for one thing else exterior of herself, and the wrestle to seek out it feels insurmountable.

A Triumph for Character Actors In every single place: Merheje, a stand-up beforehand seen on display screen as a sequence common on Hulu’s Ramy, finds simply the suitable mode to slot in with Fran’s taciturn nature as the 2 develop nearer exterior of labor — theirs is a quiet romance, however a heartfelt and nuanced one, with the kind of repressed longing present in 18th century romances.

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