My Dead Friend Zoe (2024)

My Dead Friend Zoe Review

My Dead Friend Zoe (2024)

Executive produced by Travis Kelce, writer-director Kyle Hausmann-Stokes’ solid, well-acted debut serves as a sincere plea for audiences to support returning soldiers.

“I’ve lost more guys here than I did in Iraq,” testifies a veteran during one of the many group therapy sessions featured in “My Dead Friend Zoe,” Kyle Hausmann-Stokes’ affecting look at mental health among ex-servicepeople. Two decades of life experience and personal loss have led the filmmaker to this project, which was inspired by the deaths of friends he served alongside during his five-year tour of duty with the U.S. Army. To be clear, most of the movie is spent avoiding the kind of support that vets need which is kind of the filmmaker’s point.

His main character, U.S. Army veteran Merit (Sonequa Martin-Green), is haunted by the death of fellow soldier Zoe (Natalie Morales), with whom she served in Afghanistan. A phantom version of Zoe hangs around Merit all day, mixing afternoon cocktails and making wisecracks that only she can hear well, she and the audience, who should appreciate the way Zoe’s spunky attitude and irreverent sense of humor cut through an otherwise serious-minded film.

This isn’t your typical ghost story. Instead, zoe’s manifestations are used to represent meritts PTSD: Her dead friend won’t leave Merit alone until she deals with her guilt but doesn’t want her gone either so refuses outside assistance for fear it will take her away too soon or too easily. As someone who has been there himself after leaving military service behind him for good kyle hausmann-stokes spent years making public awareness campaigns about veterans issues such as ptsd suicide prevention etcetera now having made his feature debut – smart heartfelt yet never preachy; this drama works both ways ; It serves wider communities where need exists while also reaching out directly towards those affected themselves. And yes, it is a real movie.

The movie doesn’t exist just to provide cheap thrills however this much should be clear before entering the theater doors. Rather than eliciting hollow entertainment values in its viewership, what audiences can expect is something entirely different altogether; an impactful work of art created with intentionality behind every element chosen from character development through plot progression right down into individual scenes building upon one another towards emotional release for all involved parties concerned around thematically relevant topics such as war-time experiences during service deployment or post-combat related injuries sustained while abroad on duty that need addressing sooner rather than later if we are going grow stronger together as people who care deeply about our shared humanity especially within nation states like america where so many young men and women put their lives at stake each day serving others abroad .

All involved want audiences to recognize that military service is dangerous, but so too is coming home. Without the proper treatment, people like Merit are at risk of self-harm. Civilians don’t necessarily understand the burden her character is carrying, which is one reason it was important for Hausmann-Stokes to cast veterans in as many of the roles as possible. Not leading ladies Martin-Green and Morales, nor Ed Harris (who plays Merit’s Vietnam-surviving granddad, Clay), but practically everyone else who plays a soldier was once a soldier. That includes Morgan Freeman, a comfortingly familiar face who brings buckets of empathy to his role of Dr. Cole, the sage old counselor who oversees the group therapy sessions Merit has been court-mandated to attend. Veterans already know they should take advantage of these opportunities; this film would also remind them why they must never give up hope or stop fighting for better days ahead

Sometimes movies can feel manipulative when they withhold a key piece of information in this case, how and why Zoe died until it will have the most impact. Here, frequent flashbacks to her service punctuate Merit’s return to civilian life in Oregon: joking with Zoe, hiding from snipers, swatting off male soldiers, listening to pop songs on a broken iPod (the lyrics of “Umbrella” have rarely been more heavy. “When the war has took its part Said I’ll always be your friend”).

These interruptions can be jarring and inelegant as edited, but that seems right for trauma. Merit doesn’t control how or when she’s ambushed by memories of Zoe. Morales is practically a show-stealer at times as Zoe, lively as any dead person could hope to get. But then she starts to become a problem getting in the way of Merit’s duties and interrupting a potential relationship with a well-meaning civilian (Utkarsh Ambudkar) who happens to be standing too close.

Lately Merit has been on leave from work after what Dr. Cole suggests went beyond mere negligence; something else happened during that accident. He’s patient but firm with her; he won’t sign until she participates, when she starts skipping group therapy altogether he follows up by phone. He knows he could lose her if he doesn’t try harder. Meanwhile there’s the matter of Merit’s grandfather: Her mom (Gloria Reuben) is a white-collar workaholic who can’t find time for Clay, whose mind is slipping into Alzheimer’s territory; sensing an out from therapy, Merit drives out to the lakeside cabin where Clay lives alone.

Clay was the one who made her want to enlist in the first place, but he also comes from an era that responded to such things by toughening up not exactly the best conversation partner for someone in Merit’s state. The movie seems to suggest that society owes those veterans an apology for how it treated them when they got back, but more than that, we ought to be intervening on behalf of those soldiers who went off and did the “things no one wants to do” now that we know better. For her own peace, Merit needs to share. But she also needs to share for us. Hausmann-Stokes’ message is simple, his movie a good place to start: Take an interest in our veterans.

Watch My Dead Friend Zoe For Free On Gomovies.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top