Before I Disappear – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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After slitting his wrist a man waits to die for he believes he lost the only thing worth living for. That is until he is reminded that there are still people who want, need, and potentially love him.

Trigger Warning(s): Self-Harm

Review (with Spoilers) – Below

Characters & Story

When we meet Richie (Shawn Christensen) it seems his suicide note is ready, his wrist is slit, and he is ready to die. However, a phone call from his estranged sister Maggie (Emmy Rossum) slows down his exit from our world. Why? Well, because the niece he hasn’t seen in 5 years, Sophia (Fatima Ptacek) needs to be picked up and watched. And while Richie contemplates telling his sister to go fuck herself, like she did him, he instead decides to prolong life long enough to make sure his niece is taken care of.

Praise

All praise goes to Ptacek and her interaction with Christensen. If just because Ptacek in this film has that sort of Abigail Breslin vibe. Meaning she is just as capable of taking on a dramatic role as she could be in a comedy. For with her interaction with Christensen, you see a girl who is the product of a teen mom who worked hard to fight off becoming a stereotype. She has Sophia trained to be all about school, and be an overachiever, and just have gymnastics be her fun time. Never mind friends, never mind everyday kid in the city type things. The idea is, “you will not become like me.” Which, naturally, leads her to come off very annoying at first, but then Richie helps Sophia open up and as annoying as Sophia started out, you can see her slowly fall in love with her uncle, in the platonic sense of course, and him fall for her. With that, you see Ptacek have the character evolve and see that, even at her young age, she is already starting to have emotional scars. So with her seeing Richie’s, and him not berating her like her father does, Ptacek really shines in such a way where I’m sure she won’t be stuck just being the new Dora the Explorer.

Criticism

Perhaps my main issue of this film is that among all the “One Crazy Night” stories out there, when you take away Sophia there is just empty melodrama. Richie misses his girlfriend, drowns himself in numbing agents to deal, but finds he can’t anymore so he is ready to off himself; Rossum is still in that weird place where the mind wants to typecast this as another Fiona type role, but she is trying to prove she is more than that; and then you have the Gideon (Paul Wesley) and Bill (Ron Perlman) storyline which just fails to be interesting. Add on Christensen, due to drugs and bleeding out, looks dead in the eyes and seems like a boring lead, and you got what can be considered the major issues of the movie.

Overall: Worth Seeing

For me, this is on the low end of worth seeing and pretty much the sole reason this isn’t labeled “TV Viewing” is Ptacek’s performance and character. If just because it seems when the situation is about her, or she is in the scene, the actors light up. As if because they know their characters motivation in that scene deals with her, they get passionate and actually try to draw you in. However, when it comes to the situations which don’t deal with her, like with Gideon and Bill, that is when I almost feel like labeling this TV Viewing. However, I feel this is definitely a good foundation for Ptacek’s career, and another interesting movie in Rossum’s filmography. Not a new breakout role for her, but definitely it can be considered one for Ptacek.

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