Ashley Judd performs brilliantly in the extremely dramatic and touching film, HELEN. Written and directed by Sandra Nettelbeck, Helen examines a woman who seemingly has the “perfect life” (a successful teacher, married, has a beautiful daughter) but is actually struggling with serious mental illness that is deteriorating her mentally as well as physically. We watch Helen being eaten away from inside out by her bipolar disorder and depression. We also witness the powerful and inspiring bond that arises between her and another woman through their struggles. The breakdown Helen undergoes is extraordinarily realistic as well as heart wrenching.
Talk about, depressing, dark and emotion driven, this film is not for the faint of heart. The cinematography compliments the story to a T. The muted and monochrome like colors juxtaposed with Helen’s descent into mental illness are genius.
What I really liked about this film was that it was not your cliche film what with predictability and a happy ending. I loved the elusiveness that existed within the story and how there was not always easy answers or any answers at all, and things didn’t always work themselves out. I also loved the message of never giving up no matter how hard it is and even when you want to give up more than anything. I am a big believer in the saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” and this message definitely emanates from the film. (more…)