The Enormity of Life begins with a dangerously delusional bipolar depressive, a young girl suffering from the mass media coverage of school shootings and a suicidal man on the brink. So there’s obviously a lot going on in this Eric Swinderman drama. But things do settle down, and plenty of light hearted moments allow the viewer to ease in across 1 hour and 42 minutes. Nonetheless, the issues at hand aren’t going anywhere, and the film resolves the drama in a manner where you won’t know whether it’s the joy or the pain that moves you most.
That said, the film falls most heavily on Casey (Breckin Meyer), and it’s expressed in the suicide note voiceover that Casey delivers at the outset. “I know in my heart that this world has always been too big for me, and while I walk amongst the living, I have never truly felt alive,” Meyer takes his character’s fate in stride.
The message is even clearer in light of the actor delivering the lines. Meyer has often played an unimposing and approachable figure in shows like Designated Survivor, House and Franklin & Bash, and the everyman image almost forces us to accept his predestined rationale as our own.
The original music of By Light We Loom does a similar number throughout. A series of low key indie sounding songs feel like they came right out of the garage band next store, and again, Casey’s plights seem all too familiar.
The direction and the way the camera scenes are framed comes home too. We almost feel like we’re walking through a day in our own lives, and what choice is there than living it through.
On the other hand, Casey gets a pretty unlikely lift. He inherits $250,000 from a rarely heard from great aunt, and there appears to be plenty to live for.
Some guys have all the luck, Casey then meets a girl and his dead man walking days have to be over. Jess, who is played by Emily Kinney of The Walking Dead, is the waitress at the local diner and seems to fits nicely into Casey’s puzzle.
Like him, she’s not exactly lighting it up and there’s more to her difficulties than a paltry bottom line. Kinney gives us a girl who struggles with the social graces, and while somewhat abrasive and insensitive, the actress exudes a fragility that plays perfectly against her counterpart.
Jess also has an elementary school aged daughter, and Giselle Eisenberg as Jules pretty much steals the show. Obsessed and traumatized with school shootings, she can recount the tragedies like an FBI profiler who has all the incidents on file.
The internet is her source material, and completely dialed in, no one seems to be monitoring the crime shows she watches as a defense mechanism. So she vets Casey from her binge watching obsession of Law & Order: SVU. “Raise your right hand,” she implores Casey. “Do you solemnly swear that you won’t sodomize me.”
Casey isn’t the only one taken aback by the grown up discourse, and Eisenberg’s ability to go back and forth gives both Meyer and Kinney a run for their money. The load is obviously lightened on her heels, but Casey’s past is still out there, and a reckoning must come due.
The bipolar above is Casey’s Mom (Anne McEvoy) traipsing about her scenes like a ghost. McEvoy’s portrayal makes her lost soul seem entirely possible and perilous. That aside, the condition afforded Casey a very insecure upbringing, and the vast uncertainty lends itself to Casey’s stunted ability to experience emotion.
Even so, Casey does feel for the well being of his mother, and in addition to trying to ensure some sort of treatment for her, he also wants to make a saving leap for Jules. It doesn’t matter if the problems are too big or not, Casey endeavors to do what he can.
So in one diverging mind, the double edge truth of this film unfolds. No single person or event can change the reality of someone’s life, but with kindness and care anyone can make a difference in the lives of others.