She Dies Tomorrow (2020) is a film that takes a bit for the viewer to begin to truly understand what writer/director Amy Seimetz is really saying. However, once it clicks, the brilliance of what the film is exploring and how it is doing so shines through. It features some very strong performances and a balance in tone that borders on impressive, as you may find yourself awkwardly laughing through a feeling of existential dread that settles in your stomach. The film seems to embody the anxieties that many are feeling right now – which may not be the experience one is seeking in a film – but shouldn’t be the reason to miss this excellent entry in the medium.
The film’s own synopsis listed on IMDb.com and Letterboxd.com gives what some may consider a spoiler, but really is the conceit for the premise. Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is convinced that she is going to die tomorrow. Of course, this sends her spiraling into a depression, and her friend Jane (Jane Adams) comes to check on her. As it turns out, this paranoia of impending death may be contagious, and Jane finds herself pondering her own mortality.
Amy and Jane are the central characters, but the film has a vignette feel to much of it. Most of the scenes are led by either Amy or Jane, but there are a few that focus on some of the ancillary characters. Jane goes to her sister-in-law’s birthday party, but the characters introduced there to get their own moments, which are not directly connected to Jane or Amy. The world of the film has a surreal quality that lends itself perfectly to the tone Seimetz establishes.
Adams is definitely the performance that has the most comedic quality. Not that she is doing anything outright funny, but her handling of the impending doom seems to have a humorous element to it. Her reactions are relatable and understandable – but they encourage a bit of laughter through the unease. Not to take away from Sheil, whose performance is nuanced and powerful. She is asked to carry the brunt of the premise, and she does so with excellence. In an early scene, she is listening to a record that she keeps replaying as it ends, trying to find some sense of meaning in the things she’s doing since she believes there will be no tomorrow for her.
She Dies Tomorrow is definitely worth the rental fee. In a world mostly closed by coronavirus and most of the highly anticipated films of 2020 indefinitely postponed, films like this are a blessing. It’s not the happy, popcorn-eating summer blockbuster escapism that many would likely prefer, but this swings heavily to the artistic side of Film. She Dies Tomorrow is a Must See movie.