I have a scar on my wrist. It is like a thin red vein that sits on top of my skin to remind me of a terrible choice I made once, a long time ago. Truth is, I am okay with that scar. It doesn’t scare or embarrass me. It simply reminds me of a kid who was overwhelmed and had no idea what he was doing. I look at that scar sometimes to remind me that clouds pass, and that we shouldn’t get caught in life’s sadder moments, lest they get the better of us. Wristcutters: A Love Story is a movie that knows of such mistakes, and would like to present us with a different version of what potentially happens after that act. You can all it a drama if you want. You can call it a surreal black comedy. Hell, you could even call it a love story. But you know you can’t call it? A bad film. Wristcutters, to me, was nothing short of beautiful, in its own twisted way.
Story of my life.
Normally, when I write my Why Haven’t You Seen It column, I find myself asking why people didn’t see a movie. In this case, I know. Suicide is super taboo and scares a lot of people. I can’t pretend to not be one of those people at times. I have lost a great many people I love to suicide, and I don’t want anyone to assume by choosing this movie I am choosing to glamorize that act. I’m not. But either does the movie. If anything, it shows you that the place you go after you take your life is about the blandest, shittiest place you could be, and only an idiot would go there willingly. The movie does not undermine or mock suicide. But you know what? It also doesn’t pretend suicide doesn’t exist, and I think informing people in any way is a great first step to take.
Wristcutters is about a guy named Zia (played by Patrick Fugit from Almost Famous) who takes his life and ends up in a sort of afterlife limbo. It is just like regular life, only worse. Always cloudy. You get stuck with a shit job. No one is every happy. It is limbo if limbo was Detroit. This particular limbo is filled with other people who offed themselves as well. We meet Eugene (who may be my favorite person in this movie). The rocker who electrocuted himself on stage while pouring a beer onto his electric guitar. But we also find out Zia’s ex-girlfriend is here, and she has committed suicide. Zia makes it his mission to find her.
Shown: The perfect woman.
I suppose right there, you know this is something different. A road trip in suicide limbo. It is on this road trip that they pick up Mikal (played by my wife, Shannyn Sossaman). The thing is, Mikal is quick to point out to these two that she has a very different goal in mind. She is actually looking for the P.I.C (people in charge) because she is not supposed to be here. She just simply suffered from an accidental overdose, and does not know what she is going among those who chose to die. They agree to pick her up and take her on the trip to help her find who she needs if she can help Zia find his recently suicided ex. They all agree, and the oddest limbo road trip ever commences.
Seem like a good time for a trailer?
Now I know, this subject might be heavy to breach (especially for laughs), but I want you to give Wristcutters a try. Not only is it incredibly well written, but it does not avoid or mock the situation of suicide. It just shows it for what it is. A sort of bratty move while someone is stuck in a “whoa is me” phase, and that if anyone was smart enough to wait a day or two, those urges may pass. The movie never gets preachy on either side, but I found it brave and incredibly compelling. Oh, and I also found it incredibly funny.
It also has one of my favorite “suicide” scenes from any movie. Trust me, it is not what you think. Just watch it.
I’m sorry, but it takes balls to pull off a scene like that. It really does. I also think we can all agree, it is handled perfectly. Slap the stupid out of that kid and move on. But that scene sort of sums up this movie (which I am being super vague about on purpose). Life is not all roses and puppy kisses. It is often death and loss and sadness. Wristcutters knows this, but also clearly knows there are still miracles everywhere, if you are apathetic enough to notice them. Remember that last sentence. That is an essential and integral part of this movie. That even when all hope is lost, it really isn’t.
Been there. Done that. Highly over rated.
So the story slowly takes a turn during this road trip, and honestly, how it plays out is not something I wish to tell you. I think a big part of what makes Wristcutters so special is the fact that it starts somewhere dark and hopeless, and ends at a place that is the polar opposite of that. What it takes to get them there and how that evolves the characters is something I will leave up to you to discover on your own. Some may think it gets a little idealistic and schmaltzy by the end, but I think the story they are trying to tell is divine, and I lost myself in that.
The reality is, life gets sad. Life gets heavy and over whelming. Believe it or not, Wristcutters is just here to remind you that there are still remarkable miracles going on all around you. You just need to be aware enough to actually notice them. Check this movie out. I think it was blow your mind. Wait, is that a bad choice of words to end this on?
Eh, screw it. Thanks for the read, kids. Head over to my site and read about movie love stories that will make you want to shoot yourself (the irony of that is not lost on me) and then go here and toss up a like. It will take 2 seconds, but two seconds I really appreciate.
Oh, and Tom Waits is in this movie FTW.