By Mark Bell | February 27, 2013

Charlie (Christina Vinsick) is having a crisis of faith, questioning her place in the universe, among other things. Despite the loving support of her brother Scott (Peter Mychalcewycz) and her best friend Emma (Tika Sumpter), Charlie can’t seem to find comfort in the world around her. The situation is complicated by her relationship with Nate (Jason Downs), a man whose idea of love has gone beyond supportive understanding and taken a turn into the verbally abusive, “tough love” variety. A newfound friendship with Nature-lover Levy (Wyatt Kuether) pops up to offer solace, but Charlie may be too far gone to accept that which is being given.

Christina Vinsick’s Whisper Me A Lullaby is a tragic character study of a person lost within themselves. As the film goes along, you get hope from time to time that Charlie will be able to climb out of her darkness as easily as she climbs a rock, but ultimately depression isn’t something that operates on simple logic and reasoning.

If it did, it wouldn’t make sense that Charlie is so sad all the time. She’s active, from climbing mountains to playing rugby, she has quality friends and family in Emma and Scott. Her domestic life is in a bit of a shambles considering she’s shacked up with a guy who is a ticking abuse time bomb, but her new friendship with Levy seems to be an option away from that ugly situation. From an outside view, she’s in her own head, and it’s dark and full of questions of faith, but salvation isn’t that far from her. Again, though, depression doesn’t work that way.

And thus we’re presented with a film that is a realistic portrayal of the difficulties surrounding those that suffer from depression. Unfortunately, that means we’re not in for teddy bears and smiles; instead we see that the warning signs are not all that obvious, and sometimes someone we may think just has a downer attitude may have some serious issues going on that perhaps they could use some help with. It’s never clean or easy, though.

Overall, the performances do a great job of straddling that line between truth and dramatic development. There are some missteps here or there, some dialogue that is a bit too on the nose for its own good, but overall everyone is solid. Besides, how can you go wrong with a cameo from John Heard, right?

Still, this is Christina Vinsick’s film from start to finish, not just because she portrays Charlie but also because she wrote and directed the film. To which she does a great job all around; this is not a vanity or ego piece where the writer/director cast themselves to show how great they are. She delivers an honest human in Charlie, and a film that I know many can relate to, even if we hope they didn’t.

Whisper Me a Lullaby is not an easy film; it tackles a difficult subject and it does so without becoming either saccharine in its hope or scenery-chewing melodramatic in its depths. It is true to its tale of depression, so the line it walks is a tragic one, with all the unfortunate subtleties therein.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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