Sometimes life can be sort of humdrum. The taxing, disinteresting minutia of working in an office, spreadsheet numbers, and dreary weather only adds to the monotony of everything. That certainly is the case for Fran (Daisy Ridley), a drably dressed, despondent office worker who lives on the dingy Oregon Coast.
She’s methodical and lonely in her days — forgoing involvement in frivolous office conversations, getting to bed before 11 pm, and eating microwaved dinners that involve cottage cheese. For Fran, the only sense of hopefulness comes from her exceptionally artistic daydreams about dying. Daydreams in which she is lying dead, elegantly surrounded by a peaceful forest or the crashing of ocean waves.
‘Sometimes I Think About Dying’ Review: Daisy Ridley Taps Into Her Dramatic Side
The 2023 Sundance hit, Sometimes I Think About Dying, explores exactly this. For a tight 91 minutes, the film remains witty, heartfelt, and offbeat just enough to constitute a feature-length film that is adapted from a 2019 short based on the play Killers by Kevin Armento.
Ridley’s ability to physically embody someone who couldn’t be more disinterested in life, leaving a blank look of nothingness occupying both her facial muscles and the chasm behind them, is a profound change-up from her action-packed outings as Rey Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise. It’s one that is warmly welcomed and something I hope we get to see more of in the future. Her life remains uneventful until Robert (Dave Merheje), a movie-loving transplant from Seattle who has never held a job before, comes on board at her work.
Following the energy of a quaint, near-ethereal score from Dabney Morris, Robert and Fran pursue spending time outside of the office together, first going to a movie that Fran ends up finding rather boring (surprise, surprise) then sharing a piece of pie awkwardly in a dimly lit diner. Although nothing overly eventful transpires during the runtime of the film — a murder mystery house party consumes nearly the entirety of the last 30 minutes of the movie — the themes at play press the movie to a deeper level. The relationship that Fran and Robert end up building offers major questions about life and the glimmer of joy that seemingly negligible moments propose.
‘Sometimes I Think About Dying’ Delicately Explores How Life Isn’t Always What We Dream
The visuals of Fran as she is sometimes thinking about dying are both gorgeous in their aesthetic choices and powerful in displaying how comforting such imaginative escapes can be. A former co-worker of Fran’s, Carol (played by the always excellent character actor Marcia DeBonis), says it best when the two of them bump into each other in a coffee shop: “It’s hard, isn’t it? Being a human.”
And that is the perfect encapsulation of what makes Sometimes I Think About Dying so sweet and sincere. Life doesn’t always pan out the way you think it will, or even daydream it might, but it does offer moments of genuine interest along the way that force us to reckon with what we extract from it.
The slower pace and scrupulous detail to elongated moments where nothing really happens might pose a difficulty for some viewers but I believe that to be part of the magic of the movie. Planes don’t need to blow up. Someone doesn’t need to save the city. Sometimes someone just needs a hug and to enjoy a good glazed donut with joyful coworkers around. Simple as that.
Sometimes I Think About Dying opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, January 26. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for the latest entertainment news, reviews, and coverage.
'Sometimes I Think About Dying' Review'Sometimes I Think About Dying' Review
- Daisy Ridley interestingly occupies a dramatic acting space.
- The film authentically demonstrates the frustrations and joys of daily life.
- Second act pacing issues slow down and already lethargic film.
- Lack of depth of character development can make the resolution difficult to attach to.