Mental illness is often hard to depict in a realistic fashion. There are only a handful of examples where it is treated with respect and dignity without exaggerating for the sake of entertainment. Often films that broach the topic, for the most part, simply increase the stigma that surrounds this widely misunderstood area of personal health.

Blind Spot is a very reflective and deliberately paced film, intentionally slow to emphasize a worldwide problem of mental health issues going unnoticed, as they are not physically or visually apparent.

Actress-director Tuva Novotny’s directorial debut specifically focuses her film on those invisible areas that could be the difference between sanity or a psychiatric ward. The film exists within that middle-ground where someone may seem happy on the surface, only to be hiding the pain they are experiencing. Putting on a mask to ensure that life seems okay, to even loved ones.

Such is the case here, as Maria’s (Pia Tjelta) eyes are opened to the fact that her stepdaughter Tea (Nora Mathea Øien) may or may not be suffering from some type of mental illness. Blind Spot shows the difficulty nurses and doctors have when dealing with not just issues of this nature, but with other conditions requiring hospitalization of some sort. What to say and what not to say is a very delicate tightrope to walk in these professions.

Shot in a series of long takes, we feel like silent character observing every ounce of emotion. Novotny constructs a film that is depressing at times, which seems appropriate given the topic, but is seamless and coherent from all technical standpoint. Maintaining the heighten emotions without any distracting flamboyance, Blind Spot is not to be missed.

Monday, September 10, 6:45 PM, Scotiabank
Wednesday, September 12, 9 AM, Jackman Hall
Sunday, September 16, 3:45 PM, Scotiabank