This week we examine serious mental illness with Alison Brie… or is it something even more complex than that – like aliens or time-travel?
One thing’s for sure, you’ll likely leave this without answers and that’s okay. I say just enter this one with an open mind and ride it to your own conclusions.
Horse Girl (2020)
A socially awkward woman with a fondness for arts and crafts, horses, and supernatural crime shows finds her increasingly lucid dreams trickling into her waking life.
Sarah (Brie) is shy and awkward AF, therefore supremely relatable. She works in a craft store by day and loiters around the sofa by evening, soaking up episodes of her favourite supernatural show.
So far so ordinary, except Sarah isn’t really ordinary. She has very lucid dreams at night, that are bit by bit leaking into her everyday and it’s not long before she’s convinced herself that something is definitely up with that.
Mostly alone or hanging around her old horse, who now belongs to someone else, things look up a little when Sarah’s roommate Nikki (Debby Ryan) – tired of her being around the flat all the time – fixes her up with her boyfriend’s mate Darren (John Reynolds). The pair hit it off in their mutual oddness.
Meanwhile, Sarah dreams about people she’s never met but then sees in real life and wakes up in odd places, losing chunks of time she can’t account for. She becomes convinced she’s being visited by aliens which eventually jeopardises her fledging romance, and alienates her from Nikki and her work colleagues.
All this is extra worrying given the history of both her mother and grandmother, who both lived with severe mental health issues, with her mother dying by suicide. But is Sarah breaking down in the same way or is there truth to her theories? Also – could she really be her grandmother transported through time into this reality (since they look identical)? Hmmm.
When Sarah ends up seeking help in a medical capacity, she meets another girl who speaks of the same experiences. Is this validation?
I’m finding it quite hard to encapsulate this interesting indie flick. Which is kind of the point. Mental illness, loneliness, depression – none of these are exactly linear or easy to define.
Who knows what’s real and what isn’t? All I know is that the concept of going through all this as a person with mental health challenges is fascinating. What if it’s real but you’re someone who isn’t always trusted by others, and who doesn’t particularly trust yourself either? It’s a terrifying thought.
In the end it doesn’t really matter and the ambiguous ending won’t tie it all up for you. There’s lots of debate on the internet about it though which is worth a read.
Alison Brie wrote the screenplay following her own experiences and she’s bloody great as Sarah. I really just wanted to her be okay and respected by those around her and there are times I really felt for her, particularly when she’s scared and naked in her workplace.
I’d say it’s definitely worth a go and is quite a realistic look at living with these issues, though obviously I have little experience of schizophrenia, or alien abduction for that matter. It’s funny at times, respectfully handled and sweet – and I liked it.