Inside the Rain

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Inside the Rain Movie Poster Image
Sex, swearing, suicide, sympathy in bipolar romcom.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Film is meant to create understanding of what it's like to live with bipolar disorder; shows more realistic portrayal of psychiatric ward and other psych patients than most Hollywood movies do.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ben's mental health diagnoses include bipolar disorder, ADHD, OCD, and borderline personality disorder; he's portrayed realistically. A sex worker isn't shamed or ostracized for the way she makes money.

Violence

Main character attempts suicide, and there are references to previous attempts. A patient in a psychiatric unit has scars up and down her wrists from suicide attempts. A group of young men speaks disrespectfully to a young woman; another man intervenes (moments of yelling, threatening posturing). Police roughly handle someone they believe is trying to harm himself.

Sex

A couple of sex scenes. Bare breasts seen. A porn actress dressed in bondage gear talks dirty to her online audience. A model acts as a naked serving tray for food at a strip club; no sensitive body parts shown. Strippers dance suggestively in revealing dresses, but not naked. A sexy video is shown in which the model moves in a sultry way while wearing lingerie. Several instances of characters in underwear.

Language

Frequent profanity includes "ass," "bitch," "blow job," "cum," "hell," "p---y" (implying weakness), "s--t," "slut," and many uses of "f--k." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Character must take several prescription drugs for chemical imbalance; he mixes them with hard liquor with no consequences. Later, he intentionally overdoses on the medications in a suicide attempt -- which has far-reaching consequences. College students smoke pot and drink alcohol, which sometimes leads to sex. Characters smoke cigarettes, drink wine.

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?

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