Amanda Seyfried Is Heartbreaking in A Mouthful of Air, a Harrowing Story About Postpartum Melancholy

The films which can be hardest to look at for emotional or private causes—those who stroll proper as much as anguish and look it straight within the eye—are additionally those which can be virtually inconceivable to get made. It’s a small miracle that writer-director Amy Koppelman’s A Mouthful of Air—which Koppelman tailored from her novel of the identical title—exists in any respect. Amanda Seyfried performs Julie, a younger New York Metropolis mom and youngsters’s guide writer who, within the early moments of the film, makes an attempt suicide. She has been scuffling with postpartum depression, her struggling an excessive amount of to bear. Her husband, Ethan (Finn Wittrock), is supportive however bewildered. Nobody round Julie appears to know how one can assist, as a result of regardless of how deeply they look after her, they actually can’t.
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That’s a whole lot of depth for a film to hold, and Koppelman—making her debut as a director—approaches the duty with sensitivity and discernment. (The suicide scene is a living proof—it’s so discreetly shot that the occasion turns into harrowing solely on reflection.) That’s important, as a result of postpartum melancholy—a topic nobody desires to speak about, usually least of all of the individuals affected by it—is infinitely complex and manifests itself in myriad, insidious methods. The issue, possibly, is that films—or any form of narrative—can’t assist trying to find solutions, and A Mouthful of Air isn’t any exception. The movie means that Julie’s tendency towards melancholy was in some way inherited from her troubled and presumably abusive father (Michael Gaston), or maybe intensified by reminiscences of some childhood trauma. It’s a form of imprecise hand-waving within the route of an evidence that the story doesn’t want. The truth, much more troubling than any attainable trigger and impact, is that postpartum melancholy can emerge seemingly from nowhere.

Sony PhotosAmanda Seyfried

However A Mouthful of Air makes it previous these potential flaws on the power of Seyfried’s efficiency. To take a look at her face—to look at as her enjoyment of her son shifts virtually imperceptibly into a non-public hell—is sufficient. Seyfried’s pre-Raphaelite fragility is a ruse; her fearlessness lies beneath the floor, a stealth weapon. As Julie, she reveals us how the work of taking good care of a small youngster, of being an engaged and attentive spouse, of cooking up concepts for her subsequent guide, is the factor that maintain her. Terrifyingly, she additionally reveals us glimpses of the darkish little passageway main her away from all that she cares about. From the surface, we wish to attain in and pull her again; the impossibility of that’s what offers the film its energy.

Read more reviews by Stephanie Zacharek

One other of Koppelman’s novels, I Smile Again, was tailored by director Adam Salky a number of years in the past: Sarah Silverman gave an astonishing, and underappreciated, efficiency as a spouse and mom scuffling with melancholy. Films like that one, and like A Mouthful of Air—tales about people with real-life issues—are what pondering adults at all times declare to need. But virtually nobody rushes to see them. The comfort, possibly, is that they exist so the suitable individuals can discover them—finally, if not straight away. Films aren’t service items, or tutorial briefs, or supply methods for problem-solving diagnoses. They’ll’t make it easier to lead a greater or more healthy life, not less than not in any apparent method. However they can assist you see into corners of life you’ve been afraid to discover, or deepen your capability to grasp struggling that you simply’ve by no means skilled your self. They open a window from one life into one other. And that’s nearly as good a motive for a film to get made as any.

Should you or somebody you realize could also be considering suicide, name the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or textual content HOME to 741741 to achieve the Disaster Textual content Line. In emergencies, name 911 or search care from an area hospital or mental-health supplier. | Amanda Seyfried Is Heartbreaking in A Mouthful of Air, a Harrowing Story About Postpartum Melancholy

Aila Slisco

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