This UK feature film is going to be shown for FREE on YouTube on 10th September to coincide with National Suicide Prevention Day and will run for a whole month until 10th October which happens to be Mental Health Awareness Day.
Directed by Cristian Solimeno, notorious for his character in ITV’s series Footballer’s Wives, it’s a deeply thoughtful portrayal of someone who we discover has already tried to commit suicide once and his best friend’s attempt to stop him from trying it again.
This is a hard watch of course and some credit must go to Cristian here for his creative storytelling which draws upon a lot of the mental health threads we would associate with suicide such as cutting yourself off, loneliness, depression, alcohol and disillusionment. It’s cleverly told through Al (Gary Grant) a struggling artist who lives alone and when he discovers all his paintings have gone missing returns home with a large bottle of alcohol and to a draw full of pharmaceuticals. He’s been ignoring calls from his friend Daniel (Cristian) who’s tried everything to get in touch and after Daniel leaves a DVD under the door as a last attempt, Al is reluctantly compelled to watch it. The DVD turns out to be a documentary video diary about Al’s life told by his friends, family, ex-girlfriends and the like put together by Daniel in the hope of persuading him not to do anything stupid again.
This was Daniel’s gift that he made for his friend in the hope of showing them that he cares about them, something which took on a whole new meaning during the filming when, before the film’s completion, one of the cast committed suicide themselves giving rise to a hashtag campaign and ‘I Made This For You’ movement www.imadethisforyou.com). The movement started by Cristian is asking people to take the time out to make something for somebody they care about.
The film’s heart is in the right place, although watching a series of talking heads from so many family and friends telling someone what a good bloke they are might make you wonder what Al’s problem is exactly but we pick up on some of the clues along the way as to why.
It’s a very brave and creative approach to the subject matter using filmmaking with some simple but effective techniques like using colour and black and white to differentiate between the different states of mind. The aim of the film was to be of help to people and can certainly encourage a healthier discussion about suicide and mental health, which sadly has become more prevalent in recent times and with the current pandemic outbreak, social distancing and lockdown measures, mental health is at the forefront of people’s minds for themselves and their loved ones. It seems strange that there is still such a stigma related to this sensitive subject especially when, rated 15, you can watch films of the same rating showing extreme violence and murder without even batting an eyelid.
If you’re looking for a cerebral alternative, have an hour to spare and don’t mind the uneasy material, this is worth a watch and it also provides avenues for further understanding and educating if wanted.
Film: I Made This For You
Run time: 1hr 17min
Director: Cristian Solimeno
Stars: Gary Grant, Cristian Solimeno, Luke Sullivan, Ken Cave, Danielle Meehan, Brett Allen
Free to watch from 10th September to 10th October 2020