Have you ever thought about dying? Set for release in theaters on January 26, 2024 through Oscilloscope Laboratories, the new film Sometimes I Think About Dying follows Fran (Daisy Ridley: Star Wars: The Force Awakens 2015, Murder on the Orient Express 2017), who not only thinks about it periodically, she also imagines it vividly. What if her car suddenly crashed? What if a giant snake attacked her? What if a crane suddenly dragged her away?
Based on the 2013 play Killers by Kevin Armento, who also co-wrote the screenplay along with Stefanie Abel Horowitz and Katy Wright-Mead, Sometimes I Think About Dying is the sophomore film from Rachel Lambert (In the Radiant City 2016). Originally premiering at 2023’s Sundance Film Festival, it is centered around the socially awkward Fran who finds interacting with anyone so painful that she is practically mute. Isolated and withdrawn, she all but ignores her office worker colleagues and spends all her time out of the office alone at home eating colorless dinners composed of cottage cheese and bread. One day, a new co-worker arrives at the office and to Fran’s surprise her interest is piqued by his openness and sincerity. Soon Fran’s at work Slack chats with Robert (Dave Merheje: Mr. D series, Ramy series) evolve into a real life cinema date, but Fran begins to find it increasingly hard not to slip back into her old ways.
Sometimes I Think About Dying perfectly captures the mundanity of the working week and the minutiae of everyday life. Even the most extrovert and sociable of us might sometimes struggle with humoring unfunny colleagues and having to keep up a constant persona of being completely open to everyone. The film also perfectly captures the uncomfortableness of small talk. Juxtaposed with all this awkwardness is some extremely appealing visuals. Fran might be having violent daydreams and fantasies, but Sometimes I Think About Dying is beautifully shot and its visuals are enhanced even more by a wonderful classical score. Ridley is completely convincing as Fran and her performance will be especially revelatory for those audiences who predominantly associate her with Star Wars.
But whilst Ridley puts in a convincing performance, Fran is a very difficult character to warm to. She keeps the audience at such a distance that at times the film threatens to become entirely alienating. This might not have been as much of an issue if the film did not then want the audience to get behind a possible romance for Fran. The audience might want Fran to be happy and loved, but the potential romance with Robert doesn’t quite ring true. This is also not helped by Robert’s own awkward dialogue.
Overall, Sometimes I Think About Dying demonstrates that a film can get almost everything right – the visuals, score, performances etc. – but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a highly engaging film. Sometimes I Think About Dying works best in its first act when it really draws the audience in. However, consequent acts lack the necessary emotional draw that would elevate the film from really good to really great. Still, this is definitely a worthy sophomore entry from Lambert and is definitely one for the Daisy Ridley super fans. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Sometimes I Think About Dying 3.5 out of 5 stars.