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‘God Knows Where I Am’ Is A Heartbreaking Look at Mental Illness

God Knows Where I Am Poster

God Knows Where I Am
Directed by Jedd Wider & Todd Wider
USA, 2016

Jedd and Todd Wider’s documentary film, God Knows Where I Am, takes an intimate look at the final days of Linda Bishop, a woman found dead from starvation in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse. The film pulls from interviews with Linda’s family and friends as well as excerpts from her final diaries to reveal the circumstances leading to her untimely death.

Back in her early twenties, Linda Bishop had the world in the palm of her hand; she possessed a freshly minted bachelor’s degree, striking good looks, and a magnetic personality. Linda exhibited unlimited potential until struggles with severe bipolar psychosis derailed her life.

What this film does better than most documentaries is create a sense of compassion and understanding for an unrelatable subject. The Widers force the audience to take part in an uncomfortable task: spend 90-minutes peering into a mentally ill woman’s mind. While the viewer can never know Linda’s suffering, her journals paint the telling portrait of a mind tangled in the sticky strands of its own confusing logic.

God Knows Where I Am still

The Wider’s deft cinematography infuses every frame with a level of artistry uncommon in most investigative documentaries; the framing and use of light are simply beautiful. The fetching cinematography serves as more than just eye-candy, it also goes a long way in channeling the film’s emotional beats. While telling Linda’s story from alternate perspectives, the camera moves with a different sense of purpose. Whether it’s conveying Linda’s longing for a meal or her manic sense of adventure, the precise camera work helps the story resonate on a deep emotional level.

The audience may never walk a mile in Linda’s shoes, but they will have a greater empathy for the burden she was ultimately unable to bear.

 

Grade: B-

 


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