Movie #101 2021: She Dies Tomorrow (2020)

I meaaaaaan… what the fuck was that? Am I too stupid to understand the point of this movie or is it just a massive load of nonsense?

She Dies Tomorrow – on the surface at least – appears to be about a twenty-something woman who knows that she’s going to die tomorrow. When she turns to her family to let them know, they almost contagiously begin to think that they will also die the next day. When researched this however, I found out something rather interesting. Writer and director Amy Seimetz described the movie as a metaphor for how people react when she tells them she has anxiety issues. Now if I’d have known that beforehand, I may have perceived the whole movie in a different light… but I didn’t. So it was all a wish wash of “what the fuck is going on?”

If you know me, you’ll know I find it frustrating when I need an instruction manual to understand a movie. Though the idea behind this one is easy to comprehend once you know the writer’s intentions, it just didn’t translate to me whilst watching. In fact, it almost felt like the way you feel when you read a particular monologue in a Shakespeare play with no context whatsoever, so you sit down with your teacher and highlight the key parts and begin to translate it.

But that’s the thing: I don’t watch movies with the hope to be given homework afterwards. I watch them for a variety of reasons (escapism, entertainment, humour, to feel something), but homework is certainly not one of them.

Basically, I don’t even know how to review She Dies Tomorrow. It starts off as something so incredibly pretentious; trying so hard to be super “art house” or whatever. The flashing lights, the mostly silent opening sequence… it really took a while for me to give a shit is what I’m saying. 

After a shaky opening, it gets a little bit spicier even if you don’t fully understand what’s going on, but the trailer could not have been more misleading in my opinion. Once you see the “feeling” of impending doom start to spread it does become more of a deep dive into existential crises and nihilism, but it just felt like a pretty interesting concept that could have been executed in a more exciting way and it all seems like a missed opportunity. 

Despite these negative feelings, I will pay respect to the cast… even Chris Messina who needs to stop showing up in everything I bloody watch! Jane Adams was the best of the bunch for me though, playing her character maturely and sensitively, and Tunde Adebimpe (above) was great too. However, I couldn’t get on board with Kate Lyn Sheil as Amy. Once again, it just felt like she was trying SO HARD to be “weird” and “quirky” that it felt really wooden. I’d have really loved Seimetz to take on the main role herself in all honesty.

Although she never appears on camera much to my dismay, Seimetz does manage to muster up a few really beautiful shots with her intelligent camerawork. I just wish she’d have gone further into the madness and really, really leaned into the anxiety attack it could have been.

Give it a miss.

She Dies Tomorrow is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Rating: ½

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