Monday, September 8, 2014
Review of Call Me Crazy: A Five Film
Call Me Crazy: A Five Film is more of what the world needs. It's an outlet for women to be given the chance to direct when they would never be given the time of day in mainstream movies.
Bryce Dallas Howard's segment "Lucy" hits close to home for me, as a family member struggles with Schizophrenia. Lucy, played by Brittany Snow, is sent to an asylum after her mind is relinquished to the voices when she ceases taking her medicine. Though her illness takes power over her at the beginning of the story, she realizes that she can still function relatively normal, unlike others. Her counselor (Octavia Spencer), her new love interest Bruce (Jason Ritter), and a fellow Schizophrenic help her see that.
Sarah Hyland's Grace is not the one who has a mental illness; it's her bi-polar mother Robin. When she stops taking her medicines, her mood swings are more erratic, and this time danger nearly takes both Grace's and Robin's lives. The segment "Grace" is directed by Laura Dern and expertly tackles the harrowing experience of a child, suffering through a parent's battle with one of her friends not understanding and the other being a true friend.
"Allison" delves into how Allison, played by Sofia Vassilieva, deals with (or doesn't like to deal with) her sister Lucy's Schizophrenia ever since Lucy tried to kill her. She hasn't wanted to see her, hasn't wanted to talk to her, and certainly hasn't wanted to deal with her illness anymore. She excuses it for selfish reasons, but in the end, she's not afraid of Lucy but becoming her. It's a fear that everyone with Schizophrenia in a family fears. Could I be next? Could my kids be next? Sharon Maguire did everything right and made it truly feel like a different voice of the same story. And Jean Smart nails her role so Lucy and Allison's mother Claire. This segment can be watched without "Lucy", and we would be thrown into the story as Allison's boyfriend Luke, the person trying to understand both sides but has no idea what's going on and especially why there are no doors currently on the hinges.
Stand-up comedian Eddie's (Mitch Rouse) depression has risen to the surface again after he has kicked his medicine and his therapist out the door. It's common for comedians to be depressed, and it's something that people don't see because they are performers who bring joy. When Eddie's wife Julia (Lea Thompson) finds his planned suicide note with the cocktail of pills he will take, it strikes a chord in those who have dealt with suicide. It's the most hopeless point, when we all become fearful every minute of the day that someone can't live because they are so broken inside. Bonnie Hunt is the perfect choice to direct the segment "Eddie" for her experience in comedy and with others who have dealt with depression in the field.
The military's women is something close to Ashley Judd's heart, and it shows in her arresting segment "Maggie". Maggie, a veteran who returns home from war, must deal with her PTSD and her rape by her superior officer. Her lawyer just so happens to be Lucy, and it's Lucy's first case. Jennifer Hudson delivers a strong performance as Maggie, and Ernie Hudson delivers just as strong of one as her father.
The one thing the women all have in common: they don't want to be seen as crazy. As outsiders. They want to be functional in society. It's tough to deal with mental illness, experiencing it first-hand or second-hand. And the creative teams of Call Me Crazy do right by bringing to to us in beautifully harsh light but with hope. They all end, not with suicide or inevitable doom, but they end with an upswing, a hope that it might all work out with the help of family. Unfortunately it doesn't always turn out like that, but movies like this will help people see mental illnesses for what they are. Despite some inaccuracies of disorders--like Lucy's Schizophrenia onset coming on at too early of an age, most likely--Call Me Crazy delivers us a work that needs to be watched as example of what can be done to shed light on other things misunderstood.
All photos courtesy of Lifetime.