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Helen has it all: friends, an attentive second husband, a cheerful teen daughter, musical talent, and a university teaching job. Then, something's amiss: is her husband cheating, does she have a fatal disease, does her past haunt her? There's a quick hospitalization, a disclosure, a bond with one of her students, Mathilde, and a dark chasm that seems to be opening in front of her: can Helen do anything about the problem she won't discuss, or will it swallow her?Written by
A painful movie about a woman struggling with severe clinical depression.
Ashley Judd has a knack for giving powerhouse performances in movies no one's ever heard of (did you ever see her in "Bug?"), and she disappears utterly into the character of "Helen," who herself descends into hell when her illness makes an appearance after lying dormant for many years. Let me be clear -- this movie is one long sustained note of agony, and it is not pleasant to sit through. But it's fascinating in its own way, and the thought of it haunted me for days after I'd seen it.
The filmmaker clearly had a very personal and painful relationship with her subject (she lost her childhood friend to clinical depression), and one might think this would make her incapable of retaining the objectivity needed to prevent a film like this from turning into melodrama, but one would be wrong for thinking that.
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