‘She Dies Tomorrow’ Movie Review: Amy Seimetz Suggests the End Is Near
She Dies Tomorrow is the new movie from writer/director Amy Seimetz. Her work behind the scenes got the biggest platform on Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience but this is her second film after Sun Don’t Shine. Seimetz is also a major player on the indie scene as an actor. Her latest film is ambiguous and open to interpretation. It’s art, man.
‘She Dies Tomorrow,’ or does she?
Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is plagued by the overwhelming certainty that she’s going to die tomorrow. Jane (Jane Adams) tries to talk her down, but Jane comes away feeling she’s now on her last day too. When she sees her brother, Jason (Chris Messina), the feeling spreads to him too.
This sort of contagious immediate mortality could represent anything else to the viewer. It doesn’t seem like we’re dealing with a truly fatal pandemic and Seimetz definitely leaves it up to the viewer. The film also covers more than one day, so “tomorrow” is loose. There are flashbacks, so the timeline gets complicated, but it’s still more than one day.
Amy Seimetz provides different reactions to impending death
The provocative joy of She Dies Tomorrow is the way each character, and actor, interprets the feeling of death. Sheil’s body language walking around house, standing outside in open night air, is a sort of interpretive dance except that it’s not performative. She’s still someone at home alone just behaving.
Each character ruminates a tad differently about their impending death, and exhibit their feelings in their body language. Where Amy gets isolated, Jane becomes needy and clingy, and also shares the darkest thoughts of everyone. Jason is married to Susan (Katie Aselton) so has a different reaction that incorporates his own immediate family.
Seimetz gives visual and auditory cues to the spread of this feeling too. Each character faces blue and red strobing lights, which can be a lot to take for the viewer. An oppressive hum spreads to each character too.
What does ‘She Dies Tomorrow’ mean? Amy Seimetz won’t tell.
Well, it’s surely the point of an abstract art film not to give concrete answers to the viewer. One could take it literally and view the story as a bunch of people forced to re-evaluate their lives in the final moment. That would be poignant and compelling.
One could also see “death” as a transition, or the end of something meaningful, or a rebirth, or just an uncertainty that anyone could have over major or minor questions. Seimetz leaves room for the viewer to bring their own baggage to the characters, but directs with a confident visual style. The camera lingers on each character with their thoughts, until it breaks them down visually and auditorally for the viewer.
She Dies Tomorrow is also as intense as it sounds. The downside of that may be that people are already so fraught they aren’t looking for more anxiety. The upside could be that people are already so anxious, they’re primed to think about She Dies Tomorrow. If it sounds like a worthwhile experience from the above description, Seimetz, Sheil, Adams, Messina and more deliver a provocative art film for these times.