Written, directed, and starring Aaron Fisher, Inside The Rain is a simple film with dark and dry humor and a whole lot of heart. In the film, film student Ben (Fisher) is struggling with ADHD, OCD, borderline personality, on top of also being bipolar. That said, Glass is determined to show that he is more than his diagnoses and pushes away anything associated with them, instead opting to call himself “recklessly extravagant.”
But with bipolar comes rushing highs and crashing lows that lands Ben in the hospital. After coming back to school, a misunderstanding threatens to expel him from college for being a danger to himself. Instead of allowing the expulsion, he decides to fight back, being his own advocate while everyone else around him doubts. To do this, Ben decides to recreate the incident in a short film and does so with the help of a moonlighting sex worker, Emma (Ellen Toland). As romance builds between them, Ben has to deal with the complications of love, getting help, and ultimately fighting for himself when the people who should have his back dismiss his pleas of innocence as yet another manic episode.
The portrayal of mental illness on film is hard, especially when it comes to comedy. If its too tongue in cheek, you lose the reality of living with it, and forgo the weight and emotion. If it’s too dark, then you alienate those who don’t understand what it is to find humor and solace in pain. Luckily, Fisher finds both a reverential weight and humorous way to discuss Ben’s mental health. Never once does it feel like an exaggeration or a skit. Instead, Fisher utilizes a good amount of dry humor and jokes that someone struggling would naturally make – even when it’s to our detriment.
It’s in its comedy that the film finds its authenticity and its strength. Fisher’s delivery is solid and in a few scenes where he makes light of his suicide attempt and his mental health, I laughed because I had made variants of the same jokes before. But its this delivery that throws Ben into trouble and allows the film to tackle a larger issue than just mental illness. Inside the Rain deconstructs how people on the outside of mental illness perceive those struggling and even those surviving and thriving with it.
Those who don’t live with mental health issues look at Ben as delicate, dangerous to himself, careless, and a slew of other negative things. But none of this, really, comes from a negative place. As Ben interacts with his parents, his one-night-stand, his roommate, and Emma, we see how they view him. They want to protect him, save him, or just don’t know what to do, and all of these come with assumptions that push Ben to either not take care of himself or to relinquish his independence.
Ben is the heart of the film and his growth pushes the story. As Ben, Fisher is dry but never emotionless. On the contrary, despite his monotonous delivery, Fisher as Ben feels completely realized and real. It’s hard to see where the fictive character begins, and it shows his familiarity with the territory as an actor, writer, and director.
Additionally, the most joy and laughter I had throughout the film came from Ben’s meetings with his therapist, Dr. Holloway (Rosie Perez). While Ben is eccentric from the jump, Dr. Holloway meets him where he is, pushing away his “little shit” attitude and seeing past what he presents her. The dynamic that develops between them is one of respect, and one that it’s clear Ben hasn’t experienced before.
Sadly, outside Perez and Fisher, a lot of the other side characters’ dialogue is a little lifeless which makes their delivery awkward and makes them clearly look like actors versus people. While Perez and Fisher’s character feel real, grounded, and like we’re looking into a window of someone’s life, that can’t be said for the rest of the film, especially for characters in smaller moments.
The acting isn’t all a miss, so much as performances aren’t cohesive across roles. While Fisher is met by Perez’s Dr. Holloway, Eric Roberts’ performance as Monty, and even Toland’s Emma, throw wrenches with their appearances that took me out of scenes. That said, this isn’t enough for me to say to skip the film. Instead, Fisher’s performance carries Inside the Rain and is the reason you should press play.
Overall, Inside The Rain was not what I expected it to be. Billed as a rom-com, I expected it to have a lightness that undercut the mental issues on display. Instead, Inside the Rain is a film that gives mental health issues the weight they deserve while also delivering comedy and romance in one-go.
Inside The Rain is now available on Amazon Prime.
Inside the Rain
Overall,Â Inside The Rain was not what I expected it to be. Billed as a rom-com, I expected it to have a lightness that undercut the mental issues on display. Instead,Â Inside the RainÂ is film that gives mental health issues the weight they deserve while also delivering comedy and romance in one-go.