John’s review published on Letterboxd:
Because the director wants this to be considered as "not a student film or a community project" but as a real independent film, I will judge it this way. I will start by saying this is possibly the worst film I have ever seen in my entire life and is offensive on so many levels.
I think the portrayal of self-harm and suicide is unforgivable. As someone who has suffered with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts (you name it) I was deeply insulted by how Farrow chose to portray these sensitive and serious issues, and instead of comforting or reassuring me (Farrow claims he makes films for the "lonely" and "suicidal") the film gave me horrible flashbacks to some of the worst days of my life. When I think of my favourite films with depressed/suicidal characters (Little Miss Sunshine, Take Shelter, Silver Linings Playbook, A Star Is Born, Perks of Being A Wallflower, etc.) they work because they treat the issues sensitively and realistically; with a purpose and with respect for people who actually suffer. While I like to see films do things differently Rock made me feel like I was being mocked for suffering with mental health issues. It is clear Farrow hasn't a clue what it is like to suffer first-hand or to lose a family member to suicide and the heartbreak that can leave people with. The film constantly suggested that suicide was the only way out for those suffering which is absolutely not the cast. There is always somebody there to talk to you if you reach out. There are people who care and people who will listen.
As a young amateur filmmaker myself I questioned whether my criticism was too harsh, but then remembered how Farrow himself personally insulted me, Matthew and Conor ("Some Guys With A Camera") and put us down for making our own films and promoting them on Instagram. He criticised us for creating too much "hype" surrounding our film "Look What I've Got In My Shopping Bag!", and whilst our film is hardly a masterpiece at least people say they found it fun and we didn't take ourselves too seriously. Farrow tried to create a conflict with us where there wasn't one, and I can see why he is so hated in the filmmaking community for being so far up his own arse that he decided to delete any negative comments about his films, even if they are fair and constructed. On a technical level the film is extremely poor, with so many scenes dragging too long that they become laughable and boring. I accept I may have a personal bias here because of how this director has treated us in the past, but I still believe he completely brought this backlash upon himself for putting other people down and creating something so hideous and repulsive that I wish I had never seen. If you are going to criticise me and my brother then at least make something better and makes more sense than our film which is literally about "a fucking shopping bag".
For anyone reading this who suffers with depression, anxiety or other mental illness then you can get in contact with the Samaritans when you feel like there is nobody there (you can call them for free in the UK on 116 123). There are always people to listen to you. If you need someone to talk to you can get in touch with me - I am always there to talk to too if you need someone