This week, I’m taking a look at a short film that really resonated with me. I recently put up a tweet letting you guys know that I was struggling with some mental health issues, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of love and support I received from everyone. It seemed fitting that today I should review Anxiety, a film that perfectly depicts what it’s like living with it. I really want to thank director Michael Smigiel for bringing this to life on-screen, as the more we talk about it, the more we end the stigma.
The film follows Maddie, a teenage girl who comes home one night to discover her parents have gone on a last-minute holiday. Faced with an empty house and nothing but her own thoughts, she begins overthinking as she gets ready for a night out with friends. Aaliyah Larson plays both Maddie, and anxiety personified, as she struggles with a wave of anxious thoughts. I loved the decision to have Aaliyah play both characters, as it really hits home just how inescapable anxiety can be, since it’s difficult to run away from yourself.
The performances throughout Anxiety feel like an abusive relationship, except with yourself. The choice of dialogue was really hard-hitting and awful, throwing constant insults at Maddie that she just can’t ignore, with a heavy focus on her physical appearance and relationships with friends. The voice in her head convinces her she’s ugly, fat and her friends hate her, something that no one ever wants to feel. I’ve been there myself and I know first-hand how upsetting that can be.
Anxiety is brilliantly shot with a script that perfectly personifies life with this mental illness. Sometimes you let it win, and sometimes you fight. Either way it’s a never ending battle. This is such a wonderful, important film that I’d urge anyone to watch, regardless of whether or not you’ve ever suffered with anxiety before. It’s an eye opener for those who have never experienced it, and a gesture of solidarity to those who have suffered or continue to. I am so happy this film exists.
If you think you are struggling with anxiety, I really recommend Mind as they have so many great resources and advice for when you’re feeling your lowest. There are also medications out there that you can get from your GP should you need them. Never, ever be afraid to reach out and ask for help. You’re not alone and you’re worthy of support.