It has been three long years since audiences were able to pack the theaters of Park City for a Sundance premiere. Thursday night in the mountains of Utah that changed, as a packed house gathered for the world premiere of Rachel Lambert’s Sometimes I Think About Dying.
The film which was thankfully much lighter than the title suggests stars Daisy Ridley (Star Wars’ Rey) as the most introverted of all introverts Fran. Fran spends 90 minutes navigating life, her place in it, and ponders the question if the world would be better off if she didn’t exist. The film all the while handling very serious source material doesn’t shy away from finding humor and exploring the lighter side of human connection.
Sometimes I Think About Dying is definitely the perfect movie to kick Sundance back into gear as it very much calls on common Sundance tropes: heavy source material, slow burn storytelling, mixed with striking aesthetics. The film itself actually debuted at Sundance in 2019 as a short film, and much like Whiplash, returned as a feature length film and an Opening Night premiere.
The film is anchored by a fantastic lead performance by Daisy Ridley, who handles the complex character of Fran flawlessly as she navigates a character who fluctuates from likability and frustration. She brings a level of levity to someone going through a very difficult time.
The supporting cast is just as strong with great performances from Dave Merheje as Robert, the new co-worker who shakes Fran out of her day to day monotony and Marcia DeBonis, who steals nearly every scene she is in.
While the film thankfully handles dark themes with humor and light heartedness the movie never seems to really move in a direction that lands a lasting impact. The performance of Ridley and the choices of Lambert’s direction make it an enjoyable 90 minute flick, but as far as if this will this be a Sundance classic, I sadly think not.
Lambert does a wonderful job of creating interesting characters and giving us a glimpse into the difficulties of navigating the world and our place in it, but it felt like right as characters started to break ground with each other the movie was over. Maybe I wanted more because I enjoyed the performances and depth of the characters so much, but as the credits ran I felt like something was missing, and a lack of resolution.
The film marks a fantastic evolution of a very talented young filmmaker in Lambert. It also shows that there is a whole lot of talent from Ridley we have yet to be able to see.
All in all, it was amazing to be back in a Sundance theater and Sundance 2023 is going to be an amazing ride!