Very few movies cut you open so finely so soon just by knowing the downward drop of the third act. This is one of them. And what’s for better and for worse is that it’s a documentary. The real evidence of a young life, crashing into the colorless void, not because it was time but because the passing of time was too much.
By Austin Character
Suicide is something that I have an unfortunate relationship with, and this film, in its modern tone, emotional narration, and direct approach to the subject matter, deftly handles the stories of our 21st-century mental health crisis. Of our Bleeding Generation.
A soft opening, made of pure memories warmly dated by camcorders and cell phone recordings, puts the audience, young and old, into the past. It’s a beautiful open that uses no flair or flash to bring you into the family. They are human people, clear as glass. But then smudges and smears appear. Olivia is suffering by her own hands, behind her closed eyes. And no one knows.
With honest reactions and opinions of Olivia’s history, we observe a young Tess greeting her young sister’s life into the world, sharing the tightropes with them. We know that they have no idea, and we know our narrator is all too aware of the story she unspools for us. It hurts as it should. But we keep watching, we know it’s necessary to see the truth in detail.
This pain is used with positive direction, taking hurt into the growth of good emotional soil. Tess comes to bear fruit for herself and her family, reaching out with a full basket to feed the people around her and the world at large against suicide. She teaches us that we must meet life with a silver-lined whip, to take control once again.
My Sister Liv touched old wounds for me and will for many of its audience, young, old, child, or parent. I hope it becomes a greater requirement moving forward in narrative cinema, not simply documentaries, that we address the pain that someone may be experiencing. No matter how niche or scarce or few its numbers, all human ailments should have a proper film to turn to when they rear their complex head.
Stay strong and seek help no matter the color of the abyss.