“Holly seems to have it all: two kids, a nice house, a good job as a teacher, and a husband with his career on the way up. But there are troubling signs that all is not right in her world. The insomnia. The medication for the insomnia. The dreams from the medication for the insomnia. The arrival of her estranged sister and a mouse invading her home don’t help either. Add the weight of a dark secret, and her already delicate balance collapses, sending her spiraling out of control.”
Written and directed by Dean Kapsalis, The Swerve is a beautifully, tragic film.
2020 has been a wildly strange year. COVID-19 made a point to shut everything down, there is division and sadness all over. Some people are working from home, some people went back to work. Nurses, doctors, truck drivers, EMT’s, customer service and those who have to work in the stores remain working and tired, overwhelmed and dealing with a lot.
Films have consistently been released this year even though movie theaters closed (some are now open and social distancing with masks are required.) Drive-in theaters were reintroduced to people as several films were released to drive-ins.
Azura Skye plays Holly. The Swerve opens with Azura driving. This is an important moment. But you will have to watch the movie to find out why.
Now, Holly wakes up with her husband Rob (Bryce Pinkham). Ben (Taen Phillips) and Lee (Liam Seib) are her sons. Azura does such a great job of giving Holly heart and soul. Rob leaves for work. Holly drives her sons to school and she is a teacher. “Fear so bitter, death is hardly more severe.” She is having the students read and calls on a distant Paul (Zach Rand). He is drawing… and paying attention.
Holly is home, setting up mouse traps. Holly is already dealing with a lot.
Dean did a great job with editing and making the film. Holly is trying to be supportive for Rob. This is life for some of us, everyday life. Trying to get by, working, taking care of family, life, friends, dogs, everything in between. Holly wakes up and tells Rob the mouse was watching her sleep. The anxiety and feelings of trying and trying. The supermarket scene made me think of The Stepford Wives (1975). Holly spots her hubby chatting with co-workers/customers in an aisle.
She is distracted and seems sick of everyone’s sh*t. She bakes a pie, an apple pie. Holly goes to visit family, that’s why she made the apple pie. Claudia (Ashley Bell) is her sister. Her kids plant themselves in front of the TV, she waits on them, they are rude to her. Holly’s sister is problematic and she’s not eating the apple pie that Holly made for her. (Holly’s nerves are shot; I’ve seen that look.) Claudia is telling family stories and bringing up childhood nicknames.
Now, Holly is cleaning everything up and they are all in the living room watching television. Holly decides to leave. Holly seems isolated and alone even though she has her family. She winds up confiscating the book that her student Paul was drawing in after his fellow students took it and were throwing it back and forth.
Holly tries to do something nice for her hubby after he gets a promotion. He is with her sister Claudia and it seems Holly’s memories and trauma from childhood are coming back to her. (Sometimes we all just need a hug.) Holly’s having bad dreams or hallucinating? She gets some verification, at this point it’s hard to tell. Holly checks on her bubbly hubby who is fooling around in the supermarket. Holly gets comfort from Paul. She sees the drawing of herself in his book. He sees her. Paul sees she is indeed, “somewhere else.” The Swerve is sad and shows the reality of mental illness. How the person deals with it and what kind of traumas from childhood meet us in our “grown up” lives.
Holly covering oyster crackers in peanut butter for the mouse was a tedious moment. Her hubby is bowling with her sister. Holly looks alone and lost. The camera pan around the bowling alley showing people laughing, talking and Paul looking perplexed. Holly lost her joy somewhere in life. She wants love from that somber hubby of hers.
Holly is baking another apple pie. Holly’s got that content, I’ve seen enough and dealt with enough in life, look on her face. She is writing her husband a letter. This is such a sad scene. It’s heartbreaking. Mental health is so important in life. It seems like a few years ago, it wasn’t okay to even talk about therapy. Now, everyone talks about it and those who want help, are in therapy. It may not be that easy.
Holly’s sister interrupts what Holly is doing. What a horrible turn of events. Azura is incredible in this role. This is scary and sad yet, it is a reality of what can be mental illness. Mental illness wasn’t always okay to talk about. People should talk about things. Talk about life, talk to someone. This was a beautifully tragic film. The editing and the score were incredible. The light, silent moments stood out. Make sure to check out The Swerve.