Inside the Rain strives to take us comedically into the experience of living with bi-polar disorder. College film student Ben (Aaron Fisher, who also wrote and directed) is new on campus. But he is a kind of walking version the DSM-5 diagnostic manual. He has OCD, ADHD, bi-polar disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
When he suspended (and facing expulsion) after an innocent event gets blown out of proportion, he vows to fight by making a film depicting the events to prove his innocence. He enlists the help of Emma (Ellen Toland), a sex worker he has befriended to make the film with him. Along the way, he must deal not only the trials of making a film, but his own psyche. His parents (Catherine Curtin and Paul Schulze) are caring, but they have been through a lot with Ben. They see this film as just another expression of his manic life.
Fisher knows about such mental trials. He also has been diagnosed with all of Ben’s maladies. (It should be noted that this is a fictional film, although Fisher is striving to show what his life was like.) Ben is a likable enough character, but there is always a darkness that hovers around him. He struggles with his psychiatrist (Rosie Perez) to get his medications in balance. He is also trying to find balance in his life between feeling worthless and feeling like he has superpowers (like being able to control the weather). We can sense that Ben’s life will not be easily brought under control.
The film’s climactic (and climatic) scene provides the film with its title, and also serves as a metaphor for Ben’s life. In the midst of a downpour, he finds happiness. The darkness of his life and the hope he strives for do not exist in opposition, but are tied together.
While Ben’s character and his struggle to live with his disorders seems realistic (given the comedic nature of the film), some of the peripheral parts of the story seem less credible. Especially when his psychiatrist promises that she can cure in him six weeks.
While this is a film about someone with bi-polar disorder, there is also a certain universality to the story. The world doesn’t always run smoothly or justly. And often we create our own barriers to finding happiness. Can we, like Ben, find happiness even when our world is filled with trouble?
Photos courtesy of FilmRise