‘She Dies Tomorrow’ Movie Review: A Surreal Black Comedy With Plenty To Say
Well, maybe she won’t – but she thinks she will, which is apparently all that matters.
That’s the premise of Amy Seimetz‘s new film: Amy (played with uncanny precision by Kate Lyn Sheil) is absolutely certain that she’s going to die tomorrow. Never mind that she has no actual reason to believe this and never mind that no one else does either: her certainty of this fact is enough to convince seemingly everyone who hears about it that they’ll suffer the same fate at the same time.
It’s a simple conceit, and one that initially feels rather slight and predictable for such a film. What She Dies Tomorrow ends up revealing, however, is how unpredictable such a revelation could be. The idea that we’d spend our final hours with loved ones or seeking pleasure is one Seimetz cleverly does away with entirely – instead, we see the haphazard ugliness that a foreknowledge can inspire in people. Unauthorized euthanasia, messy breakups, considerations of the unthinkable – our final 24 hours on Earth would likely be quite a bit less poetic than we’ve led ourselves to believe.
Just because Amy starts the fire doesn’t mean she’s the only one who burns: equally engaging is Jane Adams‘s aptly-named Jane, a friend of Amy’s whose own newfound certainty about her own death proves just as contagious as Amy’s. Nearly every supporting character, with particular praise directed toward Kentucky Adley‘s Craig and Katie Aselton‘s Susan, showcases their own mortal anxieties in totally unique, fascinating ways.
While the editing and cinematography on display in She Dies Tomorrow are both strong, if there is a single most laudable aspect of the film, it’s its completely novel attitude it takes toward death. Death is a total, unavoidable catastrophe – one that none of us are prepared to accept with grace. Appropriately, the characters in this film are utterly graceless: those who’ve lived their lives denying the reality of death are particularly susceptible to the hysteria surrounding it.
Seimetz has said that her film was inspired by the reactions of people to her own anxiety attacks, often adopting some of her own fears for themselves. With that in mind, it’s difficult to say what She Dies Tomorrow is about, exactly: paranoia? fear? death? connection? Whatever that may be, the result is a successful one: Seimitz gives us more to chew over in 84 minutes than many films could ever hope to.