Review by Camden Ferrell
Inside the Rain is a new film from writer and director Aaron Fisher. This movie is his first feature length film as a director. While this movie has an interesting and unique premise, it ultimately feels vain and contrived in its final product.
In this movie, Benjamin, who is struggling with ADHD, OCD, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder, is wrongly expelled from his college. With the help of a recently befriended sex worker, he aims to recreate the events that transpired as a film in order to prove his innocence. This idea is very intriguing, and it’s one that promises a lot of original storytelling, and it has a lot of potential to address socially important issues.
Fisher’s script is actually fairly strong for most of the movie. Its best moments are definitely in the first half though. He is able to craft some really clever, witty, and cringingly awkward lines to great effect. Even if it may feel mildly out of touch, it captures the spirit of what it is trying to recreate. However, as the story progresses, the natural charm begins to slowly dissipate.
The performances throughout are generally solid. Fisher also plays Benjamin, and he is fairly strong as the lead of the film. This movie is heavily inspired by Fisher’s own experiences, so he has a strong understanding of the nuances of the character’s disorders. It fluctuates between manic highs and depressing lows, and it’s done fairly well. It can often be uncomfortable to watch happen, but that is the intent. The movie also stars Rosie Perez and Eric Roberts in supporting roles that are decent but forgettable.
The main problem with this movie is its treatment of the relationship between its two leads. Ellen Toland gives a passable performance as Emma. However, the movie often jumps between being body positive and sex positive to being borderline misguided. It definitely has the fault of the male gaze, and it’s an issue that persists in a number of moments. While its intention is noble, the execution is definitely questionable.
The movie takes its unique premise and gives it a progression that relies on some shaky logic. While this can be attributed to Benjamin’s disorders, it mostly feels like a flaw that was due to a narrative oversight. It’s contrived, and it ultimately ruins a lot of the good things that were working in the movie’s favor such as its portrayal of mental illness.
For a number of scenes, this movie feels like a mild case of ego-stroking, and it’s not very subtle. While its premise is intentional loud and rightfully so, it can’t help but feel like the execution of some more sensitive scenes could have been handled better. They aren’t bad, but there are small things that could have course corrected these moments.
Inside the Rain has some virtues, but it mildly outweighed by its shortcomings. Fisher’s attempts as a writer, director, and actor are ambitious, but he doesn’t fully succeed on all fronts. It may have some solid acting and a cool premise, but it is an overall underwhelming story about one man’s fight for justice in the face of adversity.
Inside the Rain is in select theaters March 13.