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TIFF 2018 Review: “Let Me Fall” (2018) ★★★★★


Let me Fall

How quick are we to jump to conclusions when we see a drug addict? When we meet someone on our way to work or home or somewhere in the park in an intoxicated state, what do we say – “Poor thing” or “Hell with her/him”? It’s never easy to watch movies like Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream”, because it captures the reality of the disease called drug abuse, what it does to the human body, mind and even the lives that it claims every single day.

It took me three days to get back to watching “Let Me Fall” co-written and directed by Baldvin Zophoniasson, because no matter how great or gut-wrenching it was, there are certain things we should never know about because it hurts beyond belief. But the knowledge could also be used as a weapon to stop it from being spread to the younger generation, the most vulnerable one, that easily gets confused while playing with a fire that leaves its stamp in a way that one life alone isn’t often enough to fix it.

“Let Me Fall” follows two best friends, Magnea and Stella. They are young, beautiful and intelligence. They have a full life ahead of them. But the path they choose for themselves is a fast-track route from success to disaster, happiness to self-destruction, being loved to be hated, being admired by men to someone who can be easily abused, physically and sexually. It’s all because of one thing they thought will make them forget about everything their young mind can’t comprehend – drugs. It’s a true portrayal of what drugs do to a human being and even decades later owns the person like a King.

Perhaps, Magnea’s biggest mistake was meeting Stella, but she couldn’t have known about it. When we meet her first, she was going after adult men, claiming money from them. Drug was not a part of their daily life. But it was Stella who introduces the new fun that soon will turn into a nightmare. Magnea quickly becomes someone else. That sparkle in her eyes disappears as soon as drugs flows into her vein. She, by then, knows, she is addicted but at that point she can no longer control what she wants as heavy medicines and drugs were her only guide through her daily life.

But everything goes from worse and worst. Helga, Magnea’s old friend, is no longer talking to her. But decades later names her daughter after Magnea. And when the same Helga meets the absolutely messed up Magnea, Helga confesses that her daughter’s name is Magnea, but could not find the strength in herself to introduce her old friend to her daughter. And how could she? Told over several decades, the film’s fractured and sad narrative invites the viewer to the most horrific journey from past to present and back again, to capture Magnea’s prolonged struggle with addiction and how she ended up being kept in Grisli’s house, almost like a sex slave in exchange for drugs.

My dear reader, you must not expect anything pleasant or hopeful in “Let Me Fall.” Because it’s not the story of finding a bottom and then going all the way up. It does not work that way in real life and there’s no prince charming to save Stella or Magnea from themselves. As it’s based on true events, and made through information received from interviews with the families of addicts, “Let Me Fall” does not hesitate to offer nothing less but a soul-destroying piece that will reach right to the core of your bone and destroy it from within. The affect the film will have on the viewer, especially on sensitive ones, is something I can barely describe.

As for the performances, I think it’s fair to say that it’s simply beautiful and indescribable. Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir as older Stella, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir as older Magnea, Elín Sif Halldórsdóttir as young Magnea and Eyrún Björk Jakobsdóttir as young Stella deliver mind-blowing and absolutely shockingly real performances that will turn anyone upside down. Through their portrayal, the soul of any viewer will be grabbed, kidnapped and never returned. And who you were before you started watching the film will be left in the past. Because there’s no way to have even one viewer, let’s say an indifferent one, that would not be deeply moved by “Let Me Fall”. No way!

In conclusion, Baldvin Zophoniasson’s movie is the same as “Requiem for a Dream” in that it plays no game. It has a sharp narrative that’s brutal and honest. Everything from the start to the end is a pure masterpiece. As it captures the horror of drug and what it does to people, it cleverly passes through time to prove one single point – drugs are bad. They’re no good and should never be used by anyone under any circumstances. And if you know someone who thinks about using it, let them see “Let Me Fall” as an electroconvulsive therapy or as part preventive steps to show a future that is the same for every single drug addict. And that the only addiction we all must have should be for love which, sadly, this film was not about.

 

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