Review: Mental illness treated sympathetically in romantic drama ‘Elizabeth Blue’
Writer-director Vincent Sabella drew from personal experience to craft the bleak mental illness romantic drama “Elizabeth Blue.” The film clearly comes from a place of deep knowledge about the intricacies of schizophrenia but has an unfortunate tendency to overexplain itself.
Anna Schafer gives a harrowing performance as Elizabeth, a troubled young woman who dives into planning her wedding to boyfriend Grant (Ryan Vincent) the moment she’s released from an involuntary stay in a psych ward. Under the stress of her relationship and attempts to get better, her medications are soon failing.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (who also produced), is wonderfully warm as the therapist, Dr. Bowman, a reassuring presence who stands in contrast to Elizabeth’s hot and cold fiancé.
While Elizabeth’s story feels real, it does give one pause to consider that a film about a schizophrenic woman obsessed with the feminine ritual of marriage was made by men. It feels like a gendered stereotype taken to the extreme.
The reveal of the film’s central conceit occurs long after the audience has picked up on it. There are times when “Elizabeth Blue” drifts into “edu-tainment” territory, though the intent to unflinchingly reveal the struggle of mental illness is sincere.
Rating: PG-13, for mature thematic content and a scene of sensuality
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood
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