Sometimes I Think About Dying's realism with a dash of whimsy means that it’d be easy to get lost in this world watching life go by for hours on end.
WRITTEN BY ALEX GILSTON / JANUARY 22, 2023
Get up, go to work, do your job, imagine your dead body sprawled across the floor in the woods, go home, eat dinner, go to bed, and repeat. It’s the cycle of life, or at least it is for Fran (Daisy Ridley) in Sometimes I Think About Dying. Despite working in an office full of people, she is a lonely person who keeps herself to herself. That is until Robert (Dave Merheje), a new hire, asks her for some help. Fran then finds herself participating in those aspects of life she’s long been isolating herself from.
Sometimes I Think About Dying cleverly captures the banality of working life in an office. In a meeting, the manager (Megan Stalter) asks everyone to introduce themselves and state what their favourite food is. The resulting moments proceeding echo the ghosts of the thousands of icebreaker interactions that happen in the workplace. But life exists outside of the dreary grey walls of the office and Sometimes I Think About Dying beautifully challenges our perception of the little things that make our life worth living. By having Fran push herself out of her comfort zone she has experiences that most of us take for granted which makes the smallest things, like eating pie with some fresh cream, feel all the more magical. There’s something significant to her not fantasizing as much about her death during these moments.
Lonely and introverted people are often treated unkindly in cinema. The troubled outcast that should just be left to their own devices. There’s a sincerity to how Fran is portrayed and that can mostly be attributed to Daisy Ridley’s stellar performance (one of her best to date). She captures the idiosyncrasies of a person who wants to partake but visibly struggles. Her supporting cast makes every bit of small-talk and awkward interaction as believable as possible. Marcia DeBonis is the highlight of that supporting cast, as she shares an integral scene towards the end with Fran.
Sometimes I Think About Dying takes an almost obsessive approach to body language. The camera lingers on those little movements we’re inclined to make in social situations. Dustin Lane’s frame also lands on spaces that Fran would be looking at instead of a shot you would usually imagine. There’s a shot that cuts off the eyes of the speaker focusing on their lips. These little details help us relate to Fran on a more personal level as we might compare it to how we act in those same spaces.
There is some inclination that Sometimes I Think About Dying is based on a short film, but it matters not. It’s realism with a dash of whimsy means that it’d be easy to get lost in this world watching life go by for hours on end. These moments, these pockets of life, transcend the mundane, and if you can just enjoy them.