The Illuminerdi reviews The Enormity of Life.
As mental illness slowly becomes less of a taboo topic in society, the media is becoming more comfortable with taking on the issue in fictional stories, and not always in the traditionally dark, stigma-heavy manner some have grown accustomed to.
Directed by Eric Swinderman and starring Breckin Meyer and The Walking Dead’s Emily Kinney, The Enormity of Life is the latest in the parade of films attempting to mix comedy with the dark side of mental illness. Does it succeed? Partially, but the areas in which it falls short are particularly disappointing considering the subject matter.
The Enormity of Life Official Trailer
After an unsuccessful suicide attempt, Casey (Meyer) meets Jess (Kinney) and over the next several days gets to know her and her daughter Jules (Giselle Eisenberg) while dealing with familial concerns, most notably a mother who suffers from severe bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
To add another ingredient in this salad of mental illnesses, Jules suffers from PTSD stemming from her discovery of the tragedy of frequent mass shootings across the US. This may seem like a heavy-handed addition to a movie with so much on its plate already, but the scenes dealing with this plotline are actually some of the most effective found in The Enormity of Life.
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It’s the other “serious issues” that don’t always work. Comedy focusing on heavy subject matter such as mental health concerns can work, but while this film does have lighthearted and dramatic moments, it uses the former lens more than the latter. Which is effective at some points, but in the end more often than not makes the movie feels as though it’s romanticizing mental illness, rather than truly understanding it.
The Enormity of Life may be worth checking out for the PTSD storyline alone, but those who prefer media that handles all mental health issues with the same care will likely end up with mixed feelings on the movie as a whole. Let us know what you thought of the movie in the comment section below or over on our social media!
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