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Sometimes I Think About Dying (12A)

Cast: Daisy Ridley, Parvesh Cheena, Megan Stalter, Dave Merheje
Genre: Drama
Author(s): Katy Wright-Mead, Stefanie Abel Horowitz, Kevin Armento
Director: Rachel Lambert
Release Date: 19/04/2024 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 93mins
Country: US
Year: 2023

Fran traps herself in a bubble of isolation working at the Port Authority in Oregon. While the rest of the team connect, Fran daydreams about her own demise as stylised tableaux. The deathly gloom is lifted by the arrival of a new staff member, Robert from Seattle. An impromptu date at the local cinema with her cheerful co-worker followed by a shared slice of marionberry pie throws Fran's meticulous routine out of kilter.


LondonNet Film Review

Sometimes I Think About Dying (12A) Film Review from LondonNet

For the opening 20 minutes of Rachel Lambert’s delicately observed drama comedy, adapted from Kevin Armento’s stage play Killers, the painfully introverted central character played with quiet conviction by Daisy Ridley barely utters a word. She absent-mindedly plays with her lip as she answers emails, nervously kneads the flesh of her hands, scrawls a brief platitude in the leaving card of a colleague in an adjacent cubicle, and diligently files photocopies while others chit-chat about a docked cruise ship obscuring a view of the mountains…

Dressed in grey trousers and functional knitwear, Ridley’s thirty-something shrinking violet blends into the background of her office on the coast of Oregon. Willingly trapped in a mind-numbing daily routine, she walks home alone every evening, pours a glass of red wine to accompany a microwaved dinner before a sudoku puzzle completed by the light of a flickering television, and then bed. When she does eventually speak and introduces herself to a new work colleague (“I’m Fran. I like cottage cheese…”) the awkward silence that follows her simple declaration reflects the discomfort and achingly loneliness that permeates every frame of Sometimes I Think About Dying.

Even with a brief 93-minute running time, Lambert’s film struggles to fill the silence with meaningful character development and discourse, relying heavily on Ridley’s committed performance to allow us inside the mind of her outcast, who has a reputation as “the go-to for office supplies”. Fran (Daisy Ridley) traps herself in a bubble of isolation at the Port Authority in Oregon, working for an effervescent manager (Megan Stalter) who believes she has created a fun environment for her small team including shy intern Sophie (Brittany O’Grady) and proud dog dad Garrett (Parvesh Cheena).

While the rest of the squad connect, Fran daydreams about her own demise as stylised tableaux and silently steals a slice of cake from the retirement party of long-standing team member Carol (Marcia DeBonis). The deathly gloom is lifted by the arrival of Carol’s replacement, Robert (Dave Merheje) from Seattle, who is amused when Fran points out that cottage cheese is actually a curd, not cheese. An impromptu date at the local cinema with her cheerful co-worker followed by a shared slice of marionberry pie throws Fran’s meticulous routine out of kilter. A deep-rooted fascination with her own mortality threatens to torpedo the fledgling relationship before it can take root let alone blossom.

Sometimes I Think About Dying is a gently paced study of solitude and mental wellbeing, punctuated by Fran’s suicidal ideations set to bursts of composer Dabney Morris’s jaunty score. Ridley conveys her character’s insecurities without resorting to eye-catching tics, sparking lovely screen chemistry with Merheje’s movie-loving chatterbox. I suspect he would find Lambert’s picture elegantly composed but rather slow paced.

– Sarah Lee


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