A simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming film, The Song and the Sorrow revolves around the suicide of Gene MacLellan, a legendary singer-songwriter who took his own life after struggling with depression. We hear about the incident and its aftermath from his daughter, Catherine MacLellan, as well as family and friends. Each explain the oddities about his behaviour at times, and how the 60’s was far from an explosion of mental health awareness; a reality that is still an unfortunate truth today.
Catherine is strong throughout, openly talking about her father and some things he said to her that could have been an indication of illness. However, she was too young to understand what those comments meant as he died when she was fourteen-years-old. After speaking about a certain aspect of Gene’s behaviour, she encourages the audience to steer away from the torment thoughts that pushes one to lock themselves away from the world.
The Song and the Sorrow culminates in an emotionally charged event in which Catherine sings the songs of her late father, while offering anecdotes about her father as well as comments on mental health in general. She suffers from depression too, and accurately states to the audience that the stigma surrounding mental health when her father died is still an inescapable reality. Films such as this need its message to be channeled to as many people as possible suffering from mental health issues.
It serves as an important reminder that they are not alone.