Saturday, March 5, 2022

The Mystery of Her: Movie Review





Sweet and uncomplicated.
The Mystery of Her has a great premise for a finding yourself coming-of-age movie. Ali (Andrea Figliomeni) was in a car accident and loses her memory. She literally doesn’t know who she was and as she starts piecing together moments of her life, she questions whether or not she was happy and what she wants. Standard fare for a teenager feeling lonely and confused and the premise serves as a great hook.   2022

Directed by: Nicholas DiBella

Screenplay by: Nicholas DiBella, Paul Root

Starring: Andrea Figliomeni, Winter Andrews

The premise is handled really well at the beginning. The movie starts as Ali returns home from the hospital. Both the audience and the main character have the exact same level of knowledge as she re-meets people from her life. Some of the characters are thinly written – former friends who just want things to return as they were, a mother who wants to mold Ali into the most perfect version of who she once was, a boyfriend who doesn’t want to lose what they once had and doesn’t know what to say or do.

A lot of it is very predictable and uncomplicated but that works to the film’s advantage since the familiarity is comfortable which is necessary when the movie is built off of something as unusual as amnesia. None of us, including the filmmakers, know the reality of amnesia, so instead of focusing on amnesia, it focuses on the very standard emotions of teenage life – parents who don’t want you hanging out with that boy, a secret diary of poetry that you don’t want people to make fun of you for, and just struggling to understand the source of your feelings.

The name of the production company (Faith Street Films) and the director’s previous films can make it seem like we’re headed for something very religious, but thankfully it’s not. It’s wholesome, but that’s really the extent of the Christian influence.

It never stretches the boundaries, it’s mostly just sweet and heartwarming. It is very hokey at times and a lot of stilted dialogue, and it’s unsurprising that these are inexperienced actors, but the actors fit the characters; even the one-dimensional ones aren’t that annoying (except for Cameron’s father, but he’s a very minor character). It’s also really beautifully shot in Rochester, New York. The suburban locales and autumm colours don’t make it feel quite as low budget as it probably is.

A light drama that never goes very deep and writing that matches, but that’s also what makes The Mystery of Her as sweet as it is. Teenage me would have loved this, and whenever I discover a movie as an adult that I instantly know how much I would have adored it when I was younger, it’s easy to look past its faults and just hope that all the like-minded teenagers find it and connect to it.