She (Heather Dorff) seems to have everything: She's a privileged girl
from a wealthy family, she's a honor student, and actually a talented
writer too. Everybody envies her while her self-obsessed mother (Kitsie
Duncan) has her whole life mapped out for her. Sure, momma's little Miss
Perfect might have some ideas of her own about her future, but for mom
that's just a phase, eventually the girl will come to her senses and live
exactly the life expected from her.
And does the envy of the others,
from her obnoxious sister (Kelsey Zukowski) down, actually hurt, envy that
eventually leads to bullying and mobbing? What nonsense!? Envy shows you
have actually achieved something ... right?
Well, our little Miss
Perfect has long turned her back on the life she's supposed to live, at
least mentally, and she has started to listen to the voices inside her
head (which she dubs her demons), voices that tells her all sort of
violent solutions to simple problems - which though remain in our
heroine's fantasy ... at least for the time being. The only place she
finds solace though is in the bathtub, a place she loves, because here she
can slit her wrists until they bleed without anyone noticing ... well, at
least for now ...
What They Say is a film as gruesome
and depressing as it is powerful and compelling. As a whole, it's not so
much a narrative film or a genre film but a moodpiece - about a
"perfect life" gone wrong, about inner emigration and the
refusal to live up to others' expectations, something weirdly enough I
believe everybody can to some degree identify with (even if you're not
into cutting yourself until you bleed - and who is?) ... and if you
can't, maybe you haven't lived yet ...
However, if all this sounds
lofty, What They Say is not a heavy-handed message film but relies
more on atmosphere (accentuated by sudden shocks) to bring its point home
rather subtly, helped also by a hauntingly accurate performance by the
film's writer Heather Dorff.
In all, totally recommended ... but you
might not want to watch it when depressed.