20 June 2024
Sick of myself released by Modern Films on the UK 21st April

Film Review -Sick Of Myself (2022)

In 2017, Norwegian film director Kristoffer Borgli released his debut feature film DRIB. Based on the story of a failed, violent marketing scheme for an energy drink, DRIB was a satirical look at the world of advertising. Now Borgli returns with his sophomore film, a film which focuses on the satirical once again.

Sick of Myself follows Signe and Thomas, a couple whose relationship is based on one-upmanship and competition. Signe is a barista and Thomas is a conceptual artist who makes installations from stolen furniture. Thomas has delusions of grandeur and Signe resents his triumphs, no matter how small they are, because any attention that Thomas gets means less attention for her. You could not conceive of a more toxic and unhealthy relationship.

Then one day, whilst Signe is working at the coffee shop, she witnesses the attention a woman who has been mauled by a dog is receiving. This incident gets her gears turning and she has an idea – perhaps if she were sick, she could also get a lot of attention. She manages to procure a dodgy Russian drug and begins to take it. This dubious medication takes effect immediately, making her very unwell and causing her to break out in blistering rashes. Yet still, the attention that she receives is not enough.

Recent years have seen a number of people garner success, recognition and fame in ways which were once completely foreign to us. Social media in particular allows for a certain jumpstart to being noticed and the higher the number of likes and followers, the higher the potential for earnings and a league of loyal acolytes who justify your every move. As a result, many covet this kind of lifestyle. Sick of Myself is a commentary on the narcissism of society and the need of many to go viral.

Sick of Myself also looks at narcissism of victimhood and the mentality of being a victim. Signe is so addicted to drawing attention to herself that she has no qualms in not only making herself as poorly as possible, but in also lying about having life threatening conditions. In one scene, she attends a dinner party and lies about having a nut allergy much to the distress of the caterer who has so carefully tried to give her a nut free meal only for her to eat from Thomas’ plate. Signe doesn’t care how her behaviour affects others as along as she is getting what she wants.

Shot by Benjamin Loeb, who also shot After Yang and Pieces of a Woman, Sick of Myself looks really good. But whilst the film looks good from a cinematography point of view, Sick of Myself is not always easy to watch. Both Signe and Thomas are horrible. These are two characters that are inherently unlikeable and whilst it might be a bit too harsh to say that the audience wishes them harm, nor do they wish them well. There are also a number of gross out scenes that will prove too much for some.

Sick of Myself is a wry, smart and well-observed satire but with a certain level of superficiality and surface level exploration of its characters, it may not appeal to all. Of course, Signe would say it was the best film ever made and she’ll do anything to prove it.

★★★1/2


Comedy, Drama | Norway, 2022 | 15 | Cinema | 21st April 2023 (UK) | Modern Films | Dir.Kristoffer Borgli | Kristine Kujath Thorp, Eirik Sæther, Fanny Vaager, Sarah Francesca Brænne


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