I Made This For You – Review

Director: Cristian Solimeno

Starring: Gary Grant, Cristian Solimeno, Siobhan Dillon, Dermot Murphy & Alison Newman

Run time: 1h 16min

Certificate: 15

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Artist Al (Gary Grant) is in a dark place. Having survived a recent suicide attempt, he’s now isolating himself from friends and family, ignoring their attempts at reaching out and edging ever closer to the abyss. His best friend Danny (Cristian Solimeno) refuses to give up on him and presents Al with a gift. A DVD. It’s a documentary that Danny has made featuring interviews with various people from Al’s life. Ex-girlfriends, colleagues, teachers, mates and his parents all reveal intimate stories and feelings involving Al to show him just how much he’s needed and loved.

The taboo of mental health, depression and suicide in men is handled with sensitivity and tact by director Cristian Solimeno, but also features moments of affectionate humour. The interviews explore the numerous emotions felt by those affected by it, whether directly or indirectly. It’s never patronising, but authentic and always believable thanks to the writing and talent in front of the camera. 

The simple, yet incredibly effective, use of black & white for Al’s screen time contrasts beautifully with using colour for those around him. Sound is also used to great effect. Al’s world is silent until he chooses to hear. Some wonderfully subtle moments mirror his emotions as he watches the documentary and something as inconsequential as pulling back a curtain to let in some light, work perfectly. 

Gary Grant as Al

Gary Grant gives an extraordinary, understated performance, showcasing an intense vulnerability whilst managing to portray the charismatic qualities that have led to so many people being affected by his presence. There’s a haunted tiredness in his eyes that’s uncomfortable to watch and it’s a relief when a rare smile shines through. Grant’s turn is even more impressive as his dialogue is limited and he successfully conveys a plethora of emotions silently and skilfully. It’s a prime example of the phrase, ‘less is more’. 

I Made This For You is an incredibly important film and Cristian Solimeno has created something special. Bleak, thoughtful and melancholic yet painted with optimism and an underlying theme of hope throughout. To anyone feeling doubtful about their existence, watch this film. It could provide comfort and be the turning point you need. Never underestimate your worth or the power of friendship and love. 

I Made This For You will be available to watch for free everywhere, regardless of what country you are in, for a whole month. From World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th to World Mental Health Awareness Day on October 10th, all you have to do is visit www.imadethisforyou.org to watch and do please spread the word. For further information about the film and further information about mental health issues, please visit https://www.imadethisforyou.org/find-help.

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