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Sundance 2023 Review: Sometimes I Think About Dying -“Explores loneliness and the need to connect with others”

A lonely office worker who has daydreams about being a corpse revaluates her life upon the arrival of a new colleague.

Strange daydreams of being a corpse with flies being the only companions break up the drudgery of office life for Fran (Daisy Ridley) who keeps herself separated from her coworkers and when responses are required the minimum number of words are spoken; she lives alone and is self-sufficient but is extremely socially awkward. A retirement leads to a replacement named Robert (Dave Merheje) with a knack of translating his own social awkwardness into something endearing; he seeks companionship with Fran which in turn causes Fran to leave her cocoon of isolation but the pathway of embracing what life has to give is not an easy one.

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When asked how a major social event at the Royal Ontario Museum went I overheard my colleague remark how much he hates chitchat. And there is plenty of chitchat in Sometimes I Think About Dying combined with surrealistic dreams which makes the film, which explores loneliness and the need to connect with others, a hybrid of The Office and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Fran is as dreary as the Oregon weather and is either alone or kept separate from the activity in the frame. Nothing is kept perfectly frame emulating the perspective one would have when sitting at their cubical and observing the world around them. The believable chitchat adds to the monotone existence that Fran is experiencing. while the score and opening credits run counter as they provide a spritely storybook quality to the proceedings.

Full marks to Daisy Ridley as the lack of dialogue for her character means that the entire movie is dependent on her physical performance which she pulls off admirably. The murder mystery game is a fun addition and the arrival Robert makes sense though him getting hired despite never having a job before and a mysterious caller storyline that is never resolved are narratively messy. Perhaps this is due to us never completely knowing each other because of our withheld secrets and the lies that we tell. A major relief is that filmmaker Rachel Lambert focuses on the challenges of the day-to-day interactions as supposed to how good the two leads are good together in bed which makes for a bitter-sweet experience.

The 2023 Sundance Film Festival takes place January 19–29, 2023, in person and online, and for more infomration visit

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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