Plot – Sarah slashes down the days to her summer vacation trip with all the gusto of Zorro and his infamous ‘Z’, until she discovers her best friend’s plot to end his life while she’s away.
Director – Matt Walting
Genre – Drama
Released – 2019
Within the first 5 minutes you know Just Say Goodbye isn’t going to be your usual indie drama, this powerful and at times overwhelming portrayal of teenage friendship and suicide may well have been filmed on a shoestring budget but through a combination of heartfelt performances, well-written dialogue and surprisingly sophisticated cinematography, you’re soon invested in the story and willing to forgive any of the technical shortcomings.
In terms of tone, Just Say Goodbye feels perfect, not only handling these difficult subjects with care, but also showing a different side to what we are usually shown, the character of Jesse feels fleshed out and nuanced, reminding the viewer that anyone could be harboring suicidal thoughts and it only takes something small to push them over the edge. For this, I have to give credit to not only the writer Layla O’Shea but also Max Mackenzie for his delicate performance.
Also impressing was Katerina Eichbenbeger, it was a surprise to see how few credits she has to her name, her skilled portrayal as Sarah not only felt real but also relatable, the effects of Jesse’s failing mental health is plain to see and the full range of emotions that Sarah goes through was handled perfectly. I fully expect bigger things await Eichbenbeger in the future.
Given the films small budget, I’m willing to forgive the majority of the technical limitations, unfortunately, however, there were some problems with the sound that did distract me from enjoying the affected scenes, with some parts not feeling as clean as can be, while other parts feeling too much like ADR, however, given his relative inexperience as a filmmaker, I’d say Matt Walting handles the task extremely well,
Anchored by two excellent performances and strong writing, Just Say Goodbye is an impressive, gritty and powerful piece of indie-cinema that pulls no punches and stays with you long after your first viewing.
If you liked: Wristcutters: A Love Story, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, 13 Reasons Why