Tessa Thompson (Creed, Sorry to Bother You) stars in this quietly powerful drama as Beth, a crisis helpline volunteer who answers calls from people in various states of distress.  She works from home at night and is the only character ever on screen, and yet it never feels lacking or stagey or slow. Directed by Steve Buscemi, and shot in just six days, the film captures the intimate connection Beth is able to create with total strangers who are hurting and just need someone to listen as she, in small increments, exposes her own wounds. What makes this film worth watching is the combination of Thompson’s beautiful, nuanced performance and a really great script by Alessandro Camon.

The callers are a widely varied bunch each with a unique story. Many of their stories could be the basis of a film in itself. But there are standouts. One voiced by Rebecca Hall, a highly educated woman who has decided to end her life. Another, voiced by Alia Shawkat, is a mentally ill young woman off her meds with a gift for language. Beth’s reactions as she lets her callers talk and takes in their pain and problems is the heart of the story. I’m not sure I could listen to the damaged people as silently as she does, or offer them the kinds of advice and understanding she is able to give. But there is a reason she is doing this volunteer gig and while many of her callers try to get her to reveal herself, only one of them is able to get her to talk about her own pain.

The film definitely has the Covid vibe all over it. People unable to leave their homes and feeling isolated. An overall sense of despair that is rampant among us all. But also the lack of mental health options for so many people in this country in desperate need.  It’s a small film. But it has a big message.  And I recommend it.


In theaters March 29th. Available to rent or buy online, too. 

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