Care a sad tale of mental illness

Care directed by Erika Gronek was the one documentary piece I screened as part of the Celluloid in the Sun Showcase at the AZ Underground Film Fest and it was an interesting doc to say the least.

Gronek starts us off and quickly captures our attention with a demented stalker outside a lady’s home window, going on and on about how he’s going to kill her cats. As quickly as we’re lured in, the film takes a complete u-turn and what had once appeared to be a work of fiction thriller reveals its true identity as a sad, sad documentary about Gronek’s mentally ill and aging mother.

The mini-doc chronicles Gronek’s struggles as she tries to raise her young son and care for her ill mother. We see the disturbing truth on the separation doctors keep between mental and physical health. We see a woman who has too much money to receive the adequate help that she desperately needs, but doesn’t have enough money to properly take care of herself on her own accord.

As harsh as this may sound, this is the reality of the world in which we live, not just for Gronek’s mother, but for plenty of others as well. Gronek does an excellent job of conveying this message on screen.

My only real complaint about this documentary was the misleading intro. I feel it may have taken away from the film. Later in the documentary Gronek does tell a story that explains why we receive the beginning that we do, but it’s still too distracting to fit. Audience members seemed to be more concerned with being duped, than they were with the problems Gronek and her mother face on a day to day basis.

This one fault aside, Gronek does a stellar job of making us feel her pain and struggles and she fights to get her mother the appropriate help. My hope is that this mini-doc becomes more known for the light it sheds and the positive impact it is capable of having on the way the mentally ill are treated in this country, and less for the sad, depressing true life story that it is.

Chris Coffel

My name is Chris Coffel from Phoenix, Arizona. I love film and the Phoenix Suns. I write movie reviews for Trashwire and write about the Phoenix Suns for Downtown Phoenix Journal. I’m also the co-host of a movie podcast focusing on fringe cinema, the Dark of the Matinee. Please subscribe to my show on iTunes.

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