Evelyn: A Movie Review
A death by suicide is a tragedy that not only centers on the individual that has died but the aftermath creates a ripple effect that engulfs so many groups of people such as family and friends, but as well as many others depending on their social circle like work or educational services. Evelyn is a documentary that dives into a families attempt in a long overdue conversation about a son, a brother and a friend whose journey prior to his death and tries to make sense about his life and the consequences of his actions and on the impact that it had on so many people’s lives.
While Evelyn’s brother Orlando who is a person that has travelled to some of the world’s most dangerous regions while viewing it through a lens, you get a clear sense that his undertaking of filming this documentary is possible his toughest project to date as he navigates through raw emotions and unedited moments of grief and sorrow as well as times of joy and happiness. Piecing together a family’s journey across a familiar Scottish country-side all the while opening up about Evelyn’s suicide could have been an unrealistic pipe-dream on a bereavement process that was 13 years in the making but due to unfiltered openness on everyone’s perspective of their own feelings and the impact that Evelyn’s death had on their lives this film reaches into a place with ease and will hold you down genteelly to your seats as the film opens you to a side of life that is often overlooked and downplayed for various reasons.
Some of the most eye opening moments were the random conversations with strangers and their own stories on the death of a loved ones from suicide, a surprising openness and empathy found on both sides of the encounters and seemingly an unspoked understanding on each other’s stories. From the death of 3 friends over the past several years to the not so recent past of a mother’s death that suicide is incredibly prevalent in so many people’s lives in one form or another.
When often talking about the effects of a person’s suicide we often hear the phrase, “What about the people left behind?” So many emotions are at play here, from feelings of helplessness to anger and confusion, how one deals with a death can be so bewildering that coming to terms with it can be a long and drawn out process. The toll on a person’s life is often unseen and unspoken about for many reason’s such as stigma on a mental health issue and for the simple fact that most people have no idea on how the open up to a friend or even a family member when it comes to talking about their own worries and of their wellbeing, people are often at a loss on how to do so because we were never taught how to.
Evelyn opens up many questions that needed either to be answered or even asked for the first time and offers an insight on the feelings and regrets that brings about worries and anxiousness. The film truly only scratches at the surface of so many widening topics related to Evelyn himself, like his diagnoses of Schizophrenia that is often layered with negative views and misinformation to a broken family circle, and yet this film still uncovers so much and resolves many issues and alleviates many unfounded assumptions in their own actions, such as Orlando’s feelings of helplessness in being unable to help the person closest to him.
Reaching out for help is one thing, receiving it and accepting it is another, this is made so clear by that actions of Evelyn’s best friend Leon and his persistence in helping others to finally knock down their own walls and release a backlog of tears and frustrations. We see time and time again not just people opening up to each other but that people are finally being heard, that finally there is a person there to listen and to help out to the best of their abilities.
Evelyn is a film that does not come in hard and fast but the topic and the emotions on display can and will have one’s own emotion tested so be prepared and be mindful of your own limits. This film can also offer an sight to survivors of a suicide attempt in understanding how their own lives are not just their own, but can be a part of a greater collection of individuals that surround them and I honestly hope that the question of what a person leaves behind would be more about what could have been.
By: Rick Rossiter