A bleak character study encompassing the best and discomfort of a dark comedy
Advertised as a black comedy, and that's all, "Rid of Me" suggests that there is an event or plot twist that should not be revealed. And indeed it does open with an obscene, aberrant action which most people have the little bit of self-restraint required to never perform such an act. Following that opening sequence, the film reveals two subtle twists which show how unique and independent this is.
After the first scene, our sympathies are forced to suddenly and dramatically shift. That's because they make you realize that we all make character judgements before we even get to know the character. I thought that was very brilliant and kept me watching. Secondly, Meris (Katie O'Grady) is like a normal person and has experienced the same sort of life events that others have. What makes this unique is that we see her thought processes as she tries to balance what has happened with what is "fair" you know, that pesky thing that kids are taught what life is.
Meris suffers from depression. She tries to be happy, she tries to make friends, but that's hard especially for someone who suffers from depression. "Rid of Me" is a character study fused with dark comedy elements. With everything that she goes through, life finds a way of getting worse for her. But the film managed this by interspersing comic relief with the depression, but also finding new actions and new consequences for her to experience.
The production design is bleak, but that fits with the bleakness of Meris' situation and the low budget they had to work with. I was so intrigued by where they were going with Meris' character that I wasn't distracted by any of the off-putting elements of the film. I'm usually not a fan of jumpy filming and editing, and while I still didn't like it here, at least they used it in relevant places. Some of the supporting acting was weak and lessened the impact of at least one scene in particular.
But this film is not about the supporting actors or characters. This film is about Meris and Katie O'Grady. To me the character of Meris was a revelation that's how you write depressing character studies. And O'Grady put her all into this character. I loved how you could see Meris change and stay true to herself all at the same time within her eyes.
Some people probably aren't willing to have someone like Meris as a movie heroine, but it was one of the first times I could connect to a depressed woman and have hope for realistic optimism. "Rid of Me" is minimal, bleak and off-putting, but it's also a unique, original dark comedy character study.
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