Trigger warning: this article discusses suicide and some people might find it disturbing. If you or someone you know is suicidal, please call the suicide prevention hotline in your country. For those who are located in the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential.
One thing’s for sure, our society has progressively become more complex and challenging through the years as we face significant changes brought forth by economic, political, and social issues. Not to mention, the unprecedented disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic has frighteningly put life on hold, further affecting the livelihood and overall well-being of people around the world.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported that “21% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2020 (52.9 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults” and “16.5% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2016 (7.7 million people).”
The terrifying reality is that this debilitating condition has been ridiculed or downplayed by society time and again. Therefore, most people detach from society, forcing them to fight the invisible struggle alone. Unfortunately, those who have been gravely affected are the younger generations and if we don’t put our collective efforts into raising awareness and putting a halt to it, we will keep losing innocent lives.
The Unparalleled Power of Passion and Ambition in Times of Crisis
At the beginning of the pandemic, Hollywood film editor and mentor, Tina Imahara jumped on the opportunity to create The Entertainment Industry Collaborators, a Facebook group that aims to provide a space for filmmakers from all over the world to network and share their creative projects while in lockdown. It wasn’t long before the brilliant idea of making a film entirely remotely came to mind. Thus, writer and director Louise Brix Anderson stepped up to the plate to pitch an idea that explores important social issues and common taboos.
Sci-fi short film The Pill (2021) is living proof that anything and everything is possible in the world of filmmaking when you have the right mindset, attitude, and team alongside you. It was impressively done remotely by talented creatives hailing from Los Angeles, Miami, India, Holland, and Barcelona.
The story follows Alma, a 19-year-old young woman with a bright and promising future, who has chosen to take advantage of a controversial drug provided by a company called ALAS after they lowered the minimum age requirements. The drug in question is freely distributed to those who are contemplating suicide.
The striking vision and voice of writer and director Louise Brix Andersen permeated every frame. The talented cast Tina Jawidan, Sanna Toivanen, and Miriam Marcet Farreny remarkably brought the characters to life, which effortlessly allowed the audience to deeply connect and sympathize with their inner struggles. The captivating production design by Juliana Guedes enriched the narrative and instantly transported us to a transcendental yet familiar world. The meticulous manner in which the scenes were stitched together elevated the conflict and narrative, which was beautifully done by three-time Emmy nominee Sean Montgomery.
Right off the bat, the world of the story has been clearly established in the film by painting an engaging futuristic society crippled by the ramifications of science and technology. At its core, the story explores the complicated nature and consequences of “man playing God” as well as how far humans will push the boundaries of science and technology to provide an easy fix to life’s most complex conundrums.
Not to mention, The Pill adds value to the conversation by tackling complex social and ethical issues surrounding suicide and mental health, which are unfortunately still looked down upon and considered taboo today. Alma’s struggles encourage us to re-examine the lives we lead, the choices we make, and the repercussions of our actions. On the other hand, it also serves as a looking glass for thought leaders and corporations to reflect on their own mission and long-term goals in order to ensure that their contribution to society is morally and ethically beneficial to mankind.
It’s about time for us to take drastic measures and educate ourselves on the many ways we can provide proper support and assistance to those who are struggling with their mental health with the goal of helping them understand and remember that life is always worth living for no matter what the circumstances.