You Wont Miss Me

Director: Ry Russo-Young
Screenwriters: Ry Russo-Young, Stella Schnabel

Institute History

  • 2009 Sundance Film Festival


Director Ry Russo-Young creates an engrossing character portrait in this deceptively compact, but exquisitely layered, feature.

Stella Schnabel portrays Shelly, the daughter of an emotionally removed mother. Shelly strives to make her own mark and find affirmation, but her life's landscape is littered with dilemmas. Setting her sights on an acting career, she attends multiple auditions, but her ferocious, emotional intensity in these settings keeps her from getting jobs. Friendships, especially with other women, become fraught arenas of blaming and posing as Shelly shores up her defenses against potential hurts, however slight. Casual encounters with men offer little hope of romance. Even her supportive best friend Simon finds it necessary to draw boundaries where Shelly is concerned. Returning regularly to a psychiatric hospital, Shelly is repeatedly counseled by the resident shrink, who tries to give her a leg up on the go-nowhere cycles of her life. Is there still time?

Russo-Young renders this depiction of intersecting dead ends with an astute and exactingly measured empathy. Her searching, elliptical narrative structure and compact, concentrated mise-en-scène astutely underline the lonesome self-sabotage involved when self-reliance becomes an armor against intimacy and, particularly, when a woman's affirmation continually rests in the hands of some man (a friend, a date, a psychiatrist, or a casting director). Subtly mannered performances and an evocative score round out this knowing portrait, viewed from outside and in.

(Archives note: see also Ry Russo-Young: You Won't Miss Me on our YouTube Channel.)

— Shannon Kelley

Screening Details

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