Review

Unconventional approach proves rewarding in documentary 'God Knows Where I Am'

Though it begins as a mystery, “God Knows Where I Am” eventually reveals that it has more in mind than just telling the story behind a dead body. Instead, this documentary is a lyrical exploration of both a person and the place she died in, as well as a devastating commentary on American society’s approach to mental health.

“God Knows Where I Am” begins with the question of what happened to a body found in a supposedly empty house. Before her death, Linda Bishop filled notebooks with writings on what led her to the abandoned New Hampshire home, as well as how she survived there.

Read by actress Lori Singer, Bishop’s journals offer insight into her daily routine as well as her mental state. These moments are interspersed with interviews with her family, friends and the New Hampshire locals, offering a picture of her life as a whole.

This is the directorial debut of Jedd and Todd Wider, who’ve worked as producers on a number of acclaimed documentaries, including collaborations with Alex Gibney. Though “God Knows Where I Am” shares some of those films’ social justice DNA, this feels like a different beast. Cinematographer Gerardo Puglia brings a poetic approach to the visuals, with the floating, dreamlike shots capturing the beauty of both the surrounding area and the house itself, which Bishop — a nature lover — would have certainly appreciated.

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‘God Knows Where I Am’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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