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Critic Reviews for Helen
In roles that could have devolved into arias of melodrama, the cast never overplays its hand, fighting the omnipresent melancholy in small ways rather than large.
Two hours of knife-wielding and shrieking later, nothing significant or profound is gleaned...
Audience Reviews for Helen
A very depressing movie about deep depression, as expected. These kinds of movies are never fun to watch....Ashley Judd did a very convincing job.
Depression is a depressing subject. As such, this is a depressing movie. The actors did a good job, and the music was outstanding.
Helen (Ashley Judd) is an accomplished music professor. She has a wonderful daughter (Alexia Fast). She has a great marriage to her lawyer husband (Goran Visnjic). Even with all of these things going for Helen, she feels like her life is spinning out of control. At first it's a chore to get out of bed. That soon turns to it becoming a chore to be alive at all. As Helen crumbles so does her life. She loses her wonderful job. Her ex-husband refuses her a chance to see her daughter. The relationship with her husband crumbles. She is in a perpetual spiral with no way to hit the brakes, allowing everything to go down the drain. The only thing that seems to help is a former student (Lauren Lee Smith) who knows what Helen is going through. She helps her get through the bad times unlike anyone else in her life.
The film is a very poignant piece displaying the way depression can literally eat away someones life like a cancer. The film is a bleak excursion so don't expect anything light hearted. There is no comic relief in this film. Ashley Judd delivers a high caliber performance as the title character and gets wrapped into the gray cocoon that is Helen's life. She pulls off a very good performance that many people have overlooked because this film didn't get to much exposure upon its release.
Now while I thought the film was well acted, the story comes up short in many departments. Once again i have to go to predictability and cliched. What was a fresh piece that really hasn't been touched before is tarnished by many of those old age Hollywood throw ins that we can see coming a mile away, particularly the ending. There's also the treatment that Helen gets as she declines into the abyss. This is a woman who is clinically depressed and ready to end it all at any moment, yet throughout the film you never see her talk to a psychiatrist once. There's a woman in a lab coat that comes off more like a bitch than a therapist. Amazingly the only treatment they really push is shock therapy. We know that did R.P. McMurphy good. I would have been happy with a scene where Helen tells a therapist to go to hell instead of leaving that part of treatment out all together. For me that was a big point where the film stumbles on itself.
As a whole Helen is a middle of the road film. There's some great things about it and some failures, too. It's not a fun experience for sure and it does deliver an emotional punch.
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