Before I Go puts Annabella Sciorra in the lead role of a touching small film about a depressed woman. Annabella Sciorra is someone who should have had a huge career, in my opinion. I’m always delighted to see her in anything, especially taking a lead role.
Before I Go is about Samantha (Sciorra), who had a career as a singer as a younger woman. Now she’s doing dead end jobs in drug stores or delivering pizza. She’s quick to fight with everyone she meets and has decided life isn’t worth living. The film is set in New York City and is very New Yorkish. Places, foods, and attitudes are all NYC.
Samantha’s dad (Robert Klein) is a bit of a hoarder who always claims to be decluttering. He wants Samantha to go through a box of things he’s saved about her mother. She doesn’t want to touch it. She thinks her mother, who committed suicide at the same age Samantha is now, didn’t love her.
In Samantha’s apartment, on the other hand, the clutter is minimal. She has cardboard boxes on a shelf behind a curtain. The boxes have labels like Love, Music, God. The box labeled God is completely empty, but occupies a space on her shelf anyway. Old flyers for her gigs and cassettes of her singing are in the Music box. The Love box contains mostly photos of past loves and family. That’s the first box she throws away. Then she sells her piano. She’s getting ready to go.
A guy dressed as a priest (Justin Giegerich) that she confesses her depression to advises to look at everything really hard before she offs herself. She gives it a try.
Her co-star in this reexamination of her will to live is an earthworm. She rescues it repeatedly from its forays across the sidewalk. She puts it back in the flower bed it’s escaping from. She brings it banana peels and eggs shells and chases off the birds.
She goes on a date with Walt (Craig Bierko). She does a Gone with the Wind role play scene with oddball Francis (Willie Garson) from the coffee shop. She meets a teacher (Andrea Navedo) and her musically talented daughter (Ava Justin) who wants to learn to sing one of Samantha’s songs. She visits her father and finally looks inside the box about her mother.
Eric Schaeffer wrote and directed this character study. It’s low-key like its spiritless protagonist who turns to earthworms in her search for a reason to live. I thought it was a lovely film. Annabella Sciorra was terrific. I was with her all the way as she worked through epiphany after epiphany.
You can see this 2021 film on Prime Video.