New movies to stream this week: 'A Mouthful of Air,' 'American Siege' and more
Novelist Amy Koppelman doesn't do light, poolside reading. In her books "I Smile Back" (2008), made into a film starring Sarah Silverman, and "Hesitation Wounds" (2015), she grapples with such themes as self-destructive addiction, violent death and mental illness. Making her directorial debut with an adaptation of her 2003 novel "A Mouthful of Air" - loosely inspired by her own experiences with postpartum depression - Koppelman tells the story of children's picture-book author and illustrator Julie Davis (Amanda Seyfried), a new mother who, as the film opens, is recovering from a suicide attempt. With her deer-in-the-headlights eyes, Seyfried is well cast, although depression is notoriously difficult to render on screen, and there are many scenes of Julie simply starring into what presumably is the abyss. Finn Wittrock is serviceable as Julie's husband - doting, yet increasingly alarmed when, after getting pregnant a second time, Julie decides to stop taking her antidepressants. Not much happens here, in a story that hops between visits with Julie's shrink (Paul Giamatti) in the 1990s, when the main action is set, the challenges of motherhood and flashbacks to Julie's childhood, when her struggles with depression began. The story will probably resonate best with anyone who has dealt with a mood disorder, but it's a tale of gloom and doom, heading straight for an outcome that is still a shocking downer, in a film that Koppelman wields like a warning - or weapon - urging viewers, in an on-screen postscript, to get help before it's too late. R. Available on demand. Contains some strong language. 105 minutes.
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