You’re Not You is like a well-made Lifetime movie.
Review (with Spoilers)
With the ALS ice bucket challenge trend dying down, it seems You’re Not You probably missed a prime opportunity to both highlight the effects of the disease, as well as maybe cash in on it. Though with famous names like Hillary Swank, Emmy Rossum, as well as Loretta Divine, maybe the film is good enough on its own without taking advantage of the trend? Well, to find out, look below.
Characters & Story
For quite some time Kate (Hilary Swank) had a nice life. She had the best husband a woman could ask for in Evan (Josh Duhamel), a few close friends, and was an accomplished pianist. However, upon ALS developing within her, life changed. Within a year and a half, she was unable to play piano, her hands wouldn’t allow her to grip things, and her limbs were becoming so weak that she could barely walk. Thus leading to her needing a nurse or some sort of assistance. Enter Bec (Emmy Rossum) who is very inexperienced, but makes Kate feel less like a patient, or even a victim. However, normalcy truly doesn’t return until Kate meets someone like her, a woman named Marilyn (Loretta Divine), who shows her that she doesn’t have to let life pass her by as she, seemingly, just waits to die.
Perhaps the main thing I found likable about this film was Devine’s character. If just because I find it so much easier to watch someone like Marilyn, who is fighting and happy, than someone who is like Kate who more so living because others are fighting for them. Which isn’t to say Kate is suicidal. If anything, with Kate, and how Swank presents her, we are given what looks like a good depiction of what ALS does to a person’s body, as well as what it can do to their social life. For with Kate either voluntarily shutting herself out, or her friends doing it for her, while Kate presents the worst case scenario, Marilyn does the best. Allowing you to believe that ALS doesn’t stop you from being social, having a sex life, and ultimately being happy. Making it so while neither Swank nor even Devine, may get any accolades for this movie, but it should be something they both are proud of on their resumes.
Unfortunately, though, I can’t say the same for Rossum since Bec is too similar to Fiona. Which I say due to Bec physically dressing like Fiona, and acting like her; the fact she has the same lack of parental support; and her being unable to maintain a stable relationship. But the real problem though isn’t just Rossum dealing with possible typecasting, but also that her performance/ character just doesn’t make for a good supporting role. She doesn’t bring interest to herself, even though she is a musician, nor does she help make us more sympathetic toward Kate. If anything, I would argue between casting and filming she was told to basically be Fiona for the role and she did as told .
Leading to one last issue: the need for subtitles. As Swank’s ALS progresses it becomes nearly impossible to understand her to the point Bec has to interpret for her. Thing is about that, when Bec isn’t around and it is just Swank talking, you have to turn your volume all the way up to understand anything. Which was kind of annoying. Likely making things authentic, but annoying.
Overall: TV Viewing
Is this a bad movie? No. However, I must admit I expected more. Which perhaps is why I feel so disappointed since between the ALS topic; being a fan of Rossum’s due to The Phantom of the Opera and Shameless; much less Divine and Swank being in the movie, I was expecting to cry and get quality drama. Yet all that was given was a TV movie that somehow made it to both the big screen and a video on demand release. And because this seems like a big budget TV movie that is why this is being labeled TV Viewing. For outside of the big names attached, I can’t fathom why this was given any sort of theatrical release.
“Why is it that we want the ones that don’t see us, instead of the ones who do?”
— You’re Not You
“A lot of beginnings, the occasional middle, and I’m short on ends so far.”
— You’re Not You
Things To Note
- To me, I think she shouldn’t have taken this role for it doesn’t stretch the imagination when it comes to her abilities as an actress. For while we know she is multi-talented, thanks to Phantom of the Opera, I think as much as Shameless could be considered a breakout role, she sorts of needs a new breakout role so she doesn’t end up typecasted.