The Valley takes a look at immigrant tech wizard, Neal Kumar, who by all appearances, is living what most would consider the “American Dream.” A thriving career, wealth, and the perfect family consisting of his wife Roopa, and his two daughters, Maya and Monica.
Everything in his life seems to be almost perfect until he receives word that his youngest daughter, Maya, committed suicide in her college dorm room. This starts a chain of events that leads Neal to question everything in his life up to this point and forces him to finally put his business goals aside and find out what really happened to Maya.
He relentlessly questions her dorm mate, her friends, love interest, and even members of his own family, determined to understand what drove her to kill herself. Even putting him at odds with his wife, who is also hiding secrets from him. After finding out Maya had a diary, Neal searches hell and high-water to get the answers he’s been needing. But when he eventually finds it, it opens a box of family secrets he isn’t prepared for.
“…starts a chain of events that leads Neal to question everything in his life…”
Maya writes about: Her complicated relationship with her mother, and a secret she is keeping for her. Her loneliness and not having many friends at college. And finally, there’s a disturbing question of whether or not Maya was possibly raped while drunk at a fraternity party.
In the end, it’s really undetermined what the one thing was that drove his daughter to leap several stories from her dorm window, as it appears that many factors played its part. So there’s no real resolution there. But having dealt with suicide in my own life, I can personally say that there never really is the perfect answer or exact reason behind it.
“…a pretty hard watch for anybody who has ever had to deal with suicide…”
The Valley is a pretty hard watch for anybody who has ever had to deal with suicide. And credit should go to this cast for their very real and well-acted portrayal of this family in turmoil. I especially feel that Alyy Khan, who plays Neal, should get a special shout. His performance of the desperate father is what really carried this movie.
But if I were to have a criticism of this film, it would be that more often than not, it does suffer from very predictable tropes. And at times, felt a little like an “Afterschool Special.” In fact, I was secretly hoping that director Saila Kariat would go a little deeper into the downward spiral the movie seemed to be going in, but instead, she took a safer way out.
That said, The Valley is still one I would recommend viewing. Though this subject has been tackled numerous times, the story stays in motion and drops enough mystery to keep you in it for the entire run.
The Valley (2018) Starring Alyy Khan, Suchatri Pallai, Agneeta Thacker, Barry Corbin, Jake T. Austin, Christie B. Allen, and Salma Khan
6 OUT OF 10