A young writer tries to escape depression by having sex with a stranger who reminds him of his mother.
Anne Darling gives a nuanced look at depression and how some people can hide their suffering by avoiding the problem. And how inspiration to get help can come in unexpected ways.
Writer/director: Norman Yeung
Producers: Aaron Kopff, Alexander Brodzki, Agnieszka Gutkowska
I am fascinated by people who are high-achieving, extremely productive and confidently sociable, yet are quietly suffering through depression.
Many people fighting depression might surprise us with their vitality – they do not exhibit some of the common traits of this illness that include being withdrawn and melancholic.
As I have become familiar with depression in my own life and in the lives of friends and family, I have learned that some people can hide their suffering. They need help, but choose to avoid getting treated and distract themselves from the problem. They are ill, but maintain a public façade of being healthy.
The themes of escaping sadness and finding happiness run through Anne Darling, while the weight of depression looms over the characters. Instead of getting help, they run away from the problem with sex, alcohol and partying.
Current society has made great progress in dismantling the stigma of depression; many people now feel more comfortable talking about their illness.
This film adds to the conversation. The characters in Anne Darling bond from their individual experiences with depression and find a certain solace by opening up and sharing.
The characters ask themselves, as the film asks the audience: what is holding you back from being happy? What is the cause of you feeling stuck? What will you do to break free?
About Norman Yeung
Norman Yeung directed, wrote and acted in Anne Darling.
His earlier films Marnie Love, Hello Faye and Light 01 have screened at international film festivals, on European television and on Air Canada.
As an actor, Norman’s credits include a supporting role in Resident Evil: Afterlife and a series regular role in Todd and the Book of Pure Evil.
His play Theory won first place in the Herman Voaden national playwriting competition, and Deirdre Dear premiered at the Neil LaBute New Theater Festival in St. Louis, Missouri in 2015.