a review by Nalini Haynes
Director: David Lee Miller
Archie (Gabriel Sunday) is a middleclass teenager at high school who, when challenged to make a movie for film class, says he will make a movie about ‘my suicide’. Archie is promptly arrested and put in psychiatric care, but he pushes ahead with his movie as an exploration of his life prior to committing suicide. Sierra (Brook Nevin), a classmate, appears to take Archie on as a project only to reveal her own mental health issues.
Probably rated MA, this is a brutal movie in that it exposes pornography, date rape, drug use, depression and dysfunction in its exploration of suicide that becomes an expose of life. Usually My Suicide reads as a home movie intercut with pieces of other works such as soft porn images, but the in-movie references to other movies extend to SFX as in Through a Scanner Darkly, particularly for the Matrix references. These parts were, for me, some of the highlights of the movie.
In the beginning I found this to be a shocking, heavy-going movie that I didn’t like because of the apparently banal attitude to suicide. The main character vows to commit suicide because he grew up materially spoilt and emotionally neglected by perplexed parents, and is disconnected from his peers because he lives in his own world. I felt My Suicide redeemed itself in the last quarter where the narrative delves under the superficial angst and materialism to explore the issues of suicide and consequences.
My Suicide is not for the faint hearted. It may appeal to fans of Scott Pilgrim vs The World, philosophers and those with black humour. IMDB says it is ‘A teen coming-of-age romantic dramedy about a media-obsessed geek and the most beautiful and twisted girl in school.’ Over the past month the IMDB rating has risen a few whole points, so My Suicide may be one of those cult movies that takes off by word of mouth.
This article was previously published in Dark Matter issue 3, April 2011, and predated on this website to reflect the original publication date.