In Daniel John Peters’ Save Jane the titular character tries to recover from what should have been the most incredible day of her life turning into her worst in a matter of moments. Eve Gordon stars as Jane, and along with her husband, Rob (Adam Bennett), are on their way to the hospital for the birth of their first child. But, unfortunately, Rob realizes he forgot something and drives home to fetch it with a promise he’ll be back in time for the birth…well…fade to black.
Jane awakens to the doctor’s news that she lost her baby. When Rob doesn’t answer his phone, Jane learns that he died in a car accident on his way home. Over the next sixty minutes, we witness Jane spiraling down the long dark path of trauma and depression. First comes the cries of anguish in her empty home, and then comes several failed suicide attempts. Jane then begins to isolate herself from the world and plays Rob’s last phone message on a constant loop. She then turns to alcohol to numb her pain.
“…we witness Jane spiraling down the long dark path of trauma and depression.”
Save Jane is a film for those who like their tragedies tragic. Jane experiences a significant loss in her life — a tragedy common to all of us. Trauma turns to despair and affects her emotionally, mentally, and even physically. But, in Jane’s case, despair is like a drug. She feeds off it and lets it control her life to the point of inaction.
After watching the film, I got the sense that happy endings have become overrated in the films we watch and the stories we tell. Tragedy is a viable genre of film. Everything goes south for Jane, and there is no letting up. Eve Gordon gives a fantastic performance as the depressed lead. Nothing ever feels false. Though a low-energy portrayal, much of Gordon’s performance takes place in quiet moments of anguish. It’s all told in her face and not through unnecessary dialogue.
What I admire about the film is that it doesn’t lecture us through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief. It’s real-life—raw and brutal. That said, there was a moment when I had to pull myself out of the story. I was saddened that Jane had no one in her life other than her husband, which doesn’t bode well for those of us who dug into isolation during the global lockdown. Save Jane is thought-provoking and should call into question this notion that we can make it through life alone, especially when tragedy strikes.
"…tragedy is a viable genre of film."