I Love You, Now Die

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
I Love You, Now Die TV Poster Image
Challenging, unbiased docu about disturbing bullying case.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Explores the details surrounding the case against Michelle Carter for causing the suicide of her boyfriend via text. Legal maneuverings, mental illness, and ethics surrounding use of technology are discussed. Traditional cultural stereotypes about women as they relate to crime committed against men are also discussed. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Both sides of the case have strong, decided interpretations of what happened and why, and react and respond accordingly. 

Violence

Story centers around suicide of a teenager and trial of his girlfriend, who encouraged him to do it via text. The conversation threads encouraging Conrad Roy to die by suicide, as well as threats against Michelle Carter, and images of guns, nooses, and other disturbing things, are shown. It also contains descriptions of suicide attempts, cutting, assaults, and other violent events. Parental abuse, domestic violence, and rape are also discussed. 

Sex

Discusses a long-distance romance between Conrad Roy and Michelle Carter. Contains some brief text exchanges between teenage girls about having sex. 

Language

"Crap," "bitch," and stronger curses like "s--t" and "f--k." Crude references like "c--t."  

Consumerism

References are made to social media outlets like Facebook. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The use and effects of prescription medications like Prozac, Celexa, and Benadryl are discussed. Pills are shown, and overdoses are discussed. Conversations pertaining to antidepressants and their impact on young people are had, particularly in the second half. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that I Love You, Now Die is a documentary that examines the legal prosecution of teenager Michelle Carter, who was convicted of manslaughter for encouraging her long-distance boyfriend to die by suicide via phone calls and text. It has conversations, footage of court testimony, and disturbing images of conversation threads and social media posts that detail the events that transpired. There's some cursing, including "s--t" and "f--k," and posted threats on Facebook and Twitter aimed at the defendant are shown. Mental illness and teenage suicide are major themes, as is the role of digital technology. The impact of prescribed antidepressants on kids is also discussed. It's not intended for younger kids, and a challenging story to hear, but parents may want to watch with their older teens and discuss some of the issues presented. 

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What's the story?

I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE is a documentary about Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter, a controversial court case surrounding a Massachusetts teenager’s role in her boyfriend’s suicide. On July 13, 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy died by carbon monoxide poisoning. The investigation into his death uncovered cell phone calls and text messages from his long-distance girlfriend, 17-year-old Michelle Carter, encouraging him to commit the act up until the very last moments of his life. Despite the lack of a state law forbidding coerced suicide, she was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter. The case received national attention, and raised several legal and ethical questions about free speech, and the use of digital technology as a means of assisting or coercing suicide. Interviews with Conrad Roy's family members, members of Carter's defense team, and journalists who covered the story unravel the details of the complicated case. 

Is it any good?

This thoughtful documentary offers an intelligent and unbiased look at the disturbing details surrounding the case against Michelle Carter. It points to some of the legal ramifications of expanding current homicide and coerced suicide laws to consider communications via text and other digital media as potential evidence of punishable coercion. The role mental illness played in both teens' lives, and how this uniquely impacted the teens' relationship, is also a major part of the conversation.

But I Love You, Now Die doesn't provide any answers. Instead, it successfully broadens the narrative about the case by placing it within a larger social context, and raises questions about the the way family dynamics, popular culture, and all-to-willingly prescribed antidepressants played a role in the events leading up to and following Conrad Roy's death. It also looks at the media's role in creating an oversimplified and subjective public story about the case, which exploits cultural and sexist stereotypes. Overall, it's an excellent documentary that asks viewers to think about what happened from multiple points of view while considering the legal and moral value systems in which we operate.  

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