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Veronika Decides To Die

OUT NOW! Sarah Michelle Gellar in a Paulo Coelho adaptation: it's not Buffy-land anymore... (Unfortunately.)

After a botched suicide attempt, Veronika (Gellar), fraught with yuppie dread, wakes up in a mental institution only to learn that a rare heart condition will finish the job for her within a few weeks. A bummer, really, considering her slowly reawakening will to live.

Something in this first major Paulo Coelho adaptation is clearly off: none of the dialogue, characters or even settings are fully believable. The topic has so much potential – and every now and then a single line stands out as brilliant – but for the most part, Young seems content to wrap this melancholy overdose in stale Hollywood devices.

When Gellar holds her blank, pretty face toward the camera, you can see why she was cast, but Buffy ultimately lacks the skill and gravitas to pull off suicidal depression. It also doesn’t help that much of the film’s ground was covered just recently by Tom Ford’s far superior A Single Man.

VERONIKA DECIDES TO DIE | Directed by Emily Young (USA 2009) with Sarah Michelle Gellar. Opens in Berlin cinemas on September 30.