By Randal C. Hill
The first order of business here is to not be put off by the title of this worthwhile little gem of a film.
The ravishing English actor Daisy Ridley is all but unrecognizable in “Sometimes I Think About Dying” as a wan, slump-shouldered office drone named Fran. She’s single, lonely, shy and, contrary to the downbeat title, she doesn’t really want to stop living. What she desperately desires is to establish a connection to other people.
Living alone in a dreary, rain-soaked town on the Oregon coast, she works in the port authority office. Here, in isolation, she processes spreadsheets in a three-sided cubicle, which is set against a wall. She hears the low-level thrum of her banal officemates unless she is lost in one of her occasional death-based daydreams (brief images rather than complete thoughts). Fran isn’t suicidal but then neither is she much involved with life.
When her lady boss retires, a friendly goofus arrives at the office as the new head honcho. His name is Robert (Canadian stand-up comic Dave Merheje). He is slightly weird but does takes an interest in frumpy Fran. The rapid-fire questions he throws at her drives her anxiety level to new heights as she stumbles through the minefield of his unending attempts to befriend her.
Perhaps Robert will be as good as it ever gets for the lonely lady. Can Fran overcome her resistance to the efforts made to move close enough to possibly establish—gasp!—a real relationship? Robert blurts out at one point, “I like you. I want to get to know you, but you just won’t let me. I don’t know what to do.”
Scriptwriter Stefanie Abel Horowitz directed the original short film that this movie is based on, while Rachel Lambert (“I Can Feel You Walking”) ably handled the directing chores in this unhurried observation of loneliness.
“Sometimes” releases on January 26 and can be rented or purchased from iTunes or Amazon.