6.4/10
1,739
20 user 23 critic

Helen (2009)

Trailer
2:09 | Trailer
A talented professor is forced to come to terms with her clinical depression.

Director:

Sandra Nettelbeck

Writer:

Sandra Nettelbeck (screenplay)
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1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ashley Judd ... Helen Leonard
Goran Visnjic ... David Leonard
Lauren Lee Smith ... Mathilda
Alexia Fast ... Julie
Alberta Watson ... Dr. Sherman
Leah Cairns ... Susanna
David Hewlett ... Frank
David Nykl ... John
Chelah Horsdal ... Kara
Ali Liebert ... Donna
Conrad Coates ... Stephen
Alex Stevens Alex Stevens ... Woman
Rob Heschl ... Maire'd
Robin Nielsen Robin Nielsen ... Stranger
Adrian Hough ... ER Doctor
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Storyline

Helen has it all: friends, an attentive second husband, a cheerful teen daughter, musical talent, and a university teaching job. Then, something's amiss: is her husband cheating, does she have a fatal disease, does her past haunt her? There's a quick hospitalization, a disclosure, a bond with one of her students, Mathilde, and a dark chasm that seems to be opening in front of her: can Helen do anything about the problem she won't discuss, or will it swallow her? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

To reach the light, we have to face the darkness. [Scandinavian DVD.] See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

12 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Germany | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 November 2009 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Хелън See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ashley Judd had an attack of appendicitis while filming in a vacant wing of a hospital and was rushed to emergency surgery. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Barnes: Your wife is not unhappy, Mr Leonard. Your wife is ill.
See more »

Soundtracks

Wakening
Performed by Ketil Bjørnstad, David Darling
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User Reviews

Welcome to the mind of a depressed person
30 September 2011 | by rooprectSee all my reviews

At first I didn't like this movie a whole lot. As other reviewers have already pointed out, it's merciless in its stereotypical portrayal of people: every character in the movie is a royal jerk except for the 2 depressed people, and it gives the impression that all doctors are cold-hearted sadists, all spouses are selfish psychos, and people in general are totally apathetic.

But hold on...

Then it suddenly dawned on me, duh, that's exactly how one views the world when one is in the throes of depression. I believe it wasn't the filmmakers' intent to make an objective film. I think they were out to show us a somewhat skewed perspective through the eyes of a depressed person. At that, it's very successful.

So yes, this is a depressing movie. It's dark. It's irritating. It makes you feel like the world is a sucky place. But if, for some bizarre reason, you want to know what it's like to be depressed, then this is the movie for you.

I can't say that I "enjoyed" it (I'm no masochist!) but I can say that it's very well made, with excellent acting, effective cinematography (good use of focus & blurring), and a fitting musical score. Just as "Peewee's Big Adventure" takes us into the mind of a manically happy person with its cartoon colours and bouncy pace, "Helen" shows us the opposite side of the coin with its darkness, bleached visuals and monotonous presentation. If you want to know what it's like to be bipolar, I suppose you could watch the 2 movies back to back.

Movies like this: "House of Sand and Fog" (or as I like to call it, "House of Sand and Why Don't We Just Slit Our Wrists and Save Ourselves the DVD Rental Fee") and "Leaving Las Vegas". All of these are excellent films. But wow, hide the sharp metal objects before viewing.


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