In real life you don’t want to hang out with someone who’s a drag, so why sit through an entire movie focused on a woman and her misery? It’s one thing to check out a drama in which the main character has an actual problem at hand, but in Helen, the titular character’s issue is confined to her head and not just because she’s suffering with a mental illness. The gravity of her situation is never relayed clearly making it impossible to sympathize with her situation. Helen never seems sympathetic, she seems unjustifiably sad and selfish.
From the outside, Helen (Ashley Judd) seems to have it all. She’s a successful college music professor and lives in a beautiful home with her daughter, Julie (Alexia Fast), and loving second husband, David (Goran Visnjic). But inside she’s harboring a secret and when that secret surfaces, her life unravels. An overwhelming case of depression quickly escalates from short panic attacks to a condition that consumes her every waking moment. She can’t sleep, she can’t teach, she can’t function in the least. Finally David takes her to a hospital where the seriousness of her state is finally revealed. A doctor explains to David, “Your wife is not unhappy, Mr. Leonard. Your wife is ill.”
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