Review by Sopphey Vance
Mental illnesses are real. They’re tangible, and if untreated can cause death. Now, that I’ve gotten the theatrics out of the way, mental illnesses can also be treated and many people do live a seemingly normal life with treatment. In The Road Within, we find three very different mental illnesses portrayed by three very different characters. You have Tourettes, portrayed by Vincent, Robert Sheehan, obsessive compulsive disorder by Alex, Dev Patel, and anorexia by Marie, Zoe Kravitz.
We find Vincent, our main character, is plagued with Tourettes while he spasms and exclaims obscenities at his mother’s funeral. This adds to the continuing rift between him and his father and ultimately gets him admitted in a behavioural facility. Of course, like many films that deal with similar institutions, there’s the tour, the meeting of the additional cast, and incidents that are really meant to drive in a fact: everyone has issues.
Hey, but it’s a film okay? Our main characters run away from the facility complete with their illnesses. The three embark on a road trip in a whimsical attempt to free themselves and spread Vincent’s mother’s ashes in the ocean. And do they reach the ocean? They do, but in a way they don’t. Through the journey we see how even though the destination changes, and the three move into a “seemingly normal life” they still have–and will always have–a mental illness.
That’s why this film is so important to watch. If you watch this film and feel like you were no better after watching, or felt too bitter that the characters were still the same as ever. Then, this film did it’s job right. There is no magic cure for mental illnesses. There’s only treatment for people to assimilate into a seemingly normal life.