Inside the Rain
Sex, swearing, suicide, sympathy in bipolar romcom.
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Inside the Rain
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Inside the Rain is an atypical romantic comedy about Ben (Aaron Fisher), a young man with bipolar disorder, and Emma (Ellen Toland), a sex worker. Writer/director/star Fisher's intent is to offer lighthearted insight into the day-to-day life of someone who's managing a debilitating mental health diagnosis. Accordingly, the hospital's psychiatric ward population consists of a bunch of young people who are trying to figure themselves out -- which is quite different from the typical Hollywood take. College party scenes include students smoking pot and drinking. Ben mixes his medications with alcohol and in one scene attempts suicide by overdosing on his prescriptions. There are references to previous attempts at well. Emma is a porn actress/escort who's often in various states of undress and is topless in one of the film's two sex scenes. Language is strong and includes "s--t," "f--k," and sexual slang.
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What's the Story?
In INSIDE THE RAIN, Ben Glass (Aaron Fisher) is adjusting to college life while trying to manage his multiple mental health diagnoses, including bipolar disorder. When a classmate misperceives Ben's heavy medication intake as a suicide attempt, the university administrators kick him out. Outraged at the injustice, Ben sets out to clear his name by making a film that shows his experience.
Is It Any Good?
Fisher's feature debut isn't necessarily good, but it's definitely not bad -- and it's also of value. As society continues to realize the need to destigmatize mental health struggles, Inside the Rain is a step in the right direction. Viewers aren't meant to understand exactly what it's like to be bipolar -- it's more like seeing how a friend's bipolar diagnosis affects their life. We see Ben's inability to sleep, his insistence on having all his clothes dry-cleaned (he also has OCD), and how his abrupt way of interacting with others can be off-putting, but the film doesn't put us precisely in his shoes.
The film is different from what we're used to from media about the mental health field. Patients in the psychiatric ward aren't incoherent or totally zoned out -- they're just trying to get a handle on what life handed them. Ben's suicide attempt isn't played for tears or sympathy; it's just something he'll come to regret. Rosie Perez co-stars as Dr. Holloway, who's like the Willy Wonka of psychiatrists: With a glint her eye, she gets results by being real. And whether or not Ben heeds her advice is up to him, but if he can use the guidance to make better choices, he'll get the keys to a better life. That said, he ignores her advice when it comes to spending time with Emma (Ellen Toland), an erotica model who dabbles in porn. Emma allows Ben into her life after he expresses interest in casting her in his film. While a college student struggling with mental health diagnoses and a porn actress might seem to have little in common, they both live without shame or embarrassment for their situations. What they both crave is what the film provides: They want to be taken seriously for who they are and what they want to achieve, not limited by the labels society so easily slaps on them.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Emma's career is portrayed in Inside the Rain. The filmmaker believes that sex workers shouldn't be shamed. How do Hollywood attitudes (positive and negative) on this topic affect our own perspective?
What do you think the movie's title means? How does the filmmaker show that?
Discuss how director Aaron Fisher and main character Ben use film to try to increase understanding about bipolar disorder. How is mental illness often portrayed in the media? How is this movie different?
- In theaters: March 13, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: March 27, 2020
- Cast: Aaron Fisher, Rosie Perez, Ellen Toland
- Director: Aaron Fisher
- Studio: Sky Island
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 25, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Silver Linings Playbook
Offbeat dramedy mixes light and dark; some intense moments.
It's Kind of a Funny Story
Coming-of-age dramedy explores teen pressures, angst.
Infinitely Polar Bear
Heartfelt drama about family affected by mental illness.
Smart, mature legal thriller isn't meant for kids.
Haunting suicide/depression docu; watch with your teens.
Powerful look at mental illnesses has graphic content.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Classic and brilliant, but violence makes it teens only.
'80s classic is filled with sex, cursing, and smoking.
For kids who love stories about mental health
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