Inside the Rain

Destigmatizing mental health issues has been up front and center of late. A good thing. Encouraging people to talk about it, not feel so alone and not be seen as problematic. Director/screenwriter/actor Aaron Fisher has bipolar disorder himself so Inside the Rain is loosely based on his own experiences when he was in his twenties.

Going off to college is a big step in any young person’s life. It usually means moving out of home, gaining a little independence and sets you on the course for the rest of your life. But who are we kidding it is mostly about partying a lot and hooking up. Even though he is bipolar along with OCD, ADHD and borderline personality, Ben Glass (Aaron Fisher – first feature film) is looking forward to meeting girls at college.

While at a party, he attempts without any success to meet some girls. Stepping outside for a bit, he runs into a girl from one of his film classes. They end up sleeping together. Because of his lack of experience Ben believes it to be the beginning of a relationship when it is simply a one night kind of thing.

This sends him into a tailspin and he ends up trying to kill himself by overdose. After out of the hospital and back at school, the girl, checking in on him, sees him with a bunch of pills so thinks he is trying to kill himself again. A misunderstanding, but it all leads to him being arrested and kicked out of school.

Being a film student Ben decides he is going to write and shoot a film to bring as his defense at his expulsion hearing. Outside of a strip club he stands up for a girl, who works there and is also a model/escort, when she is being harassed by a group of jerks. Ben and Emma (Ellen Toland – The Chaperone) become friends and he decides to cast her in his film. All they have to do is raise the money to do it.

Veering between comedy of the college hijinx variety and drama, there is an unusual rhythm which I presume is done purposely to replicate the inner workings of Ben’s head. Sometimes jarring, sometimes cool. Rather a mixed bag in terms of success.

What is a complete success is Aaron’s portrayal of Ben…or himself. It seems rather trite to mention that he gets it bang on, but he does. He is blunt. Oblivious to social cues. What it isn’t (which is rather refreshing) is that it is not a caricature. Allows us an inside look at the life that someone with these multiple diagnosis would be like.

For any one of us describing or bringing to life our own lives is a tough ask. While there are flaws here, I do have to give Aaron Fisher props for making something that is left of center without really trying, so it has an authentic feel throughout. He also does not make himself the hero. Ben is prickly and often not likable. Yet you still do overall. Plus it is rather unpredictable a film. Kinda like the subject matter.