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Tomatometer®reviews counted: 5see all Helen reviews
Top Critic Reviews
Rotten: Two hours of knife-wielding and shrieking later, nothing significant or profound is gleaned...
- Aaron Hillis, Time Out New York, Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Fresh: In roles that could have devolved into arias of melodrama, the cast never overplays its hand, fighting the omnipresent melancholy in small ways rather than large.
- Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, Friday, July 30, 2010
Helen (Ashley Judd) is an accomplished music professor. She has a wonderful daughter (Alexia Fast). She has a great marriage to her lawyer husband (Goran Visnjic). Even with all of these things going for Helen, she feels like her life is spinning out of control. At first it's a chore to get out of bed. That soon turns to it becoming a chore to be alive at all. As Helen crumbles so does her life. She loses her wonderful job. Her ex-husband refuses her a chance to see her daughter. The relationship with her husband crumbles. She is in a perpetual spiral with no way to hit the brakes, allowing everything to go down the drain. The only thing that seems to help is a former student (Lauren Lee Smith) who knows what Helen is going through. She helps her get through the bad times unlike anyone else in her life. The film is a very poignant piece displaying the way depression can literally eat away someones life like a cancer. The film is a bleak excursion so don't expect anything light hearted. There is no comic relief in this film. Ashley Judd delivers a high caliber performance as the title character and gets wrapped into the gray cocoon that is Helen's life. She pulls off a very good performance that many people have overlooked because this film didn't get to much exposure upon its release. Now while I thought the film was well acted, the story comes up short in many departments. Once again i have to go to predictability and cliched. What was a fresh piece that really hasn't been touched before is tarnished by many of those old age Hollywood throw ins that we can see coming a mile away, particularly the ending. There's also the treatment that Helen gets as she declines into the abyss. This is a woman who is clinically depressed and ready to end it all at any moment, yet throughout the film you never see her talk to a psychiatrist once. There's a woman in a lab coat that comes off more like a bitch than a therapist. Amazingly the only treatment they really push is shock therapy. We know that did R.P. McMurphy good. I would have been happy with a scene where Helen tells a therapist to go to hell instead of leaving that part of treatment out all together. For me that was a big point where the film stumbles on itself. As a whole Helen is a middle of the road film. There's some great things about it and some failures, too. It's not a fun experience for sure and it does deliver an emotional punch.
- sononothing, Tuesday, September 14, 2010
"I was prepared to fight. I wasn't prepared to lose" -Helen Ashley Judd provides a strong performance as "Helen" a loving wife, mother, talented musician, and professor who becomes strangled by severe depression. Her mental illness progresses over a period of time and is portrayed in quite a realist way...showing the isolation that she imposes on herself. "You remind me of who I used to be" -Helen
- debmm, Wednesday, January 19, 2011