As David Rosenhan said, “If sanity and insanity co-exist, how shall we know them?” The American psychologist might have died in 2012 but his life question still continues to live. Partly thanks to Cyrus Trafford and his new movie, The Voice in the Head. The British Iranian director decided to focus in his recent work on the small border between sanity and insanity and how people define both, because deep down we might all be a little bit insane.
A Girl, whose name is never be revealed, is in the final stage of getting her degree in psychology. Just one more exam is standing between her and graduating. Or one more question, to be specific. “If sanity and insanity co-exist, how shall we know them?” The question that David Rosenhan tried to answer his entire life. The Girl only gets less than 2 hours. Not a fair fight but life can be a struggle sometimes, can’t it? According to the Girl, she came in contact with the first signs of insanity at the beginning of the year, when she went to the library. She chooses to go to the library during the evening because of the quietness. That also explains why the underground she takes is almost empty. Just one Woman (whose name also won’t be revealed) accompanies her in the carriage. Although it seems that the woman thinks there might be more people than just the two of them because she talking to people who aren’t there. For that reason, the Girl declares the Woman already a little bit insane and decides to follow her, as she goes in the same direction the girl is headed in. The more the Girl watches the Woman, the more insane she declares her. It turns out that both of them are going to the library. But how is it possible that an insane person is going to the same place as a sane one? Is the Woman less insane than the Girl thinks, or the Girl more insane than she dares to admit? Or is something else going on here?
With this storyline in the back of his head, Cyrus Trafford wanted to make a movie in which definitions of ‘sane’ and ‘insane’ are questioned again, and to provoke discussion on the topic of mental health. We can tell you that he really succeed in that. Without giving away too much, at the end of the movie we doubted if we really are as sane as we thought. Especially because there were some moments during which we really recognized ourselves in the ‘insane’ woman.
That feeling didn’t only come because of the story but also because of the great acting performance from both leading ladies. Charlotte Luxford plays the role of the Girl, someone we all sympathised for, perfectly and the fact that her thoughts and actions are being described with a voice over breaks down the fourth wall a little bit more. The performance by Stella Willow as the Woman is incredibly good because she shows a lot of emotions without overacting. The wonderful cinematography from Dan Pickard made sure that the movie is very enjoyable to watch, even with the very serious topic involved.
Are you up for a movie, after which you might question yourself? Yes? Than go and watch The Voice in the Head. With his work, Cyrus Trafford made sure that the topic of mental health is brought to our attention in a delightful movie, with charming cinematography and superb performances. The movie is out now and the link to view it is below.