A 17-year-old with schizophrenia finds a new confidant – and develops a fear of her neighbor. Like the thriller drama released directly on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD in this country FEAR OF RAIN We will reveal how we handle this material in our review.
OT: Fear of Rain (USA 2021)
17-year-old student Rain Burroughs (Madison Iseman) suffers from schizophrenia and spent some time in the hospital due to paralyzing hallucinations. Now she goes back to school and is excluded by everyone because of prejudices about her mental state. Meanwhile, her former best friend is experiencing a surge in popularity because everyone wants to hear the hottest gossipy anecdotes about Rain from her. Only the new guy at school is nice to her – which makes Rain suspicious. Is Caleb (Israel Broussard) real or imaginary? While Rain is struggling with this question, she is also worrying her parents (Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick Jr.) because she vehemently claims that her new neighbor has kidnapped a child…
There are films where the consensus is loud and clear. Sia’s “Music,” for example, where the overwhelming majority agree that its portrayal of autism is clichéd, disgustingly contemptuous, and ignorant to the point of malice. Opinions differ when it comes to other films that outline a special condition. “Fear of Rain” is one of them. While David Robb writes in Slant Magazine that this direct-to-DVD title “depicts mental illness with the nuance and insight of Jared Leto in ‘Suicide Squad,'” veteran film critic Dennis Schwartz says the film “deals with schizophrenia sensitively.” . This is how it runs through the reviews for “Fear of Rain”: For every verdict like that of Shannon McGrew on “Nightmarish Conjurings” (who praises that the thriller offers “insight into the topic of mental illness that is rarely seen in the cinema”) or by Jeffrey M. Anderson at ‘Common Sense Media’ (“a thoughtful, empathetic portrayal of the protagonist and her illness”), there are also negative assessments such as those from Dennis Harvey at ‘Variety’ (“not exactly the most sensitive discussion of mental illness” ).
Rain (Madison Iseman) is also increasingly exposed to her fears at school.
If, when it comes to films about schizophrenia, you attach great importance to how respectfully the filmmakers deal with the topic, we unfortunately cannot make an assessment at this point in good conscience as to whether you will get “Fear of Rain” the wrong way or not. Too many people see him too differently for that. But what we want to say with conviction about this thriller drama: “Fear of Rain” is a welcome star vehicle for Madison Iseman. The actress is probably best known for “Goosebumps 2: Scary Halloween” and the two most recent “Jumanji” films, in which she didn’t get to do much. In the title role of “Fear of Rain,” the Californian makes an impression: Although she plays Rain in a phase of life in which the student has major problems dealing with her schizophrenia, Iseman does not define the young woman by that. She plays Rain as an empathetic outsider who, due to her adolescent self-doubt, doesn’t know whether she should trust her rapport with the new guy at school or whether their dynamic is too perfect to believe these potentially romantic prospects. Rain’s schizophrenia is not the foundation of how Iseman plays her; she comes in – with painful spurts and as the sword of Damocles hovering over her, just when Rain has a better grip on her. Iseman makes this struggle with schizophrenia and Rain’s even more distressing fear that it might suddenly make itself felt tangible in a nuanced way.
“Although Madison Iseman plays the protagonist Rain in a phase of life in which the student has major problems dealing with her schizophrenia, Iseman does not define the young woman by that.”
“Happy Death Day” love interest Israel Broussard unfortunately cuts a pale figure at Iseman’s side – that may well be because Castille Landon’s script doesn’t give him much to give Caleb a profile. Still, it would have taken a certain spark of something to give Caleb “You’re too perfect for me to believe without a doubt that you exist” status in any sense of the word. Rain is sketched in such a way that we sympathize with her questioning the fact that when she returns to school, a classmate she has never met in a healthier phase is suddenly strolling through the halls. But the “I also find you so loving and nice that I question your existence” aspect, which is also included in the script, falls rather flat in the interaction between Iseman and Broussard.
Her parents (Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick Jr.) become increasingly worried about their daughter.
Katherine Heigl (“Once is never”) and Harry Connick Jr. (“My friend, the dolphin 2”) Meanwhile, as Rain’s film parents, they find a successful balance: they play their roles with both caring severity and an understanding gentleness, but through which a little desperation always shimmers, which in the case of Rain’s father occasionally turns into helpless anger. These mood swings are written and acted believably. In general, the constant fluctuation of emotions that Landon conveys delightfully in “Fear of Rain” is a positive feature of the film: Rain’s fear of what she (believes) she sees, Rain’s worry about being judged by her parents and classmates , Rain’s clinging to islands of calm and understanding: Landon manages to spin a dramatic portrayal of Rain’s complex experiences, which has a good tension through irregularly escalating conflicts. And this despite the fact that the film’s imagery, due to soapy, shiny overexposure and routine framing, is often more reminiscent of the Lifetime Channel than of the pictorial schizophrenia thriller drama that the first few minutes of the film suggest.
“Rain’s fear of what she (believes) she sees, Rain’s worry about being judged by her parents and classmates, Rain’s clinging to islands of calm and understanding: Landon succeeds in turning this into a dramatic portrayal of Rain’s complex experiences to spin.”
Towards the end, however, “Fear of Rain” derails and moves away from Rain’s struggle to get through everyday life well. Writer/director Castille Landon shoots towards the end (“The Favorite”) increases the tension enormously and maneuvers her film into genre areas with great force – both in terms of content and staging. And that should also divide opinions again: Is it welcome to show a heroine like Rain going through something that resembles a thriller? Because Why not Should a teenager with schizophrenia experience something like this? Or is it disrespectful to artificially dramatize your standard thriller plot by saying, “Okay, that’s bad enough, but what if the heroine is schizophrenic to boot?”
Conclusion: “Fear of Rain” lets Madison Iseman show off her acting skills and always scores points when the film of the schizophrenic takes on her role carefully and with empathetic understanding. The thriller-esque phases of this drama can and may be debated.
“Fear of Rain” is available on DVD and Blu-ray from March 26th and on VOD from March 19th.