VIFF Film Review - See For Me (2021)
See For Me is a suspense/thriller story with a modern twist and it takes the helpless female trope head on. Sophie is a young downhill skier who recently lost her sight in a ski accident. Trying to hold onto her autonomy, much to the chagrin of her mother, she gets work as a house sitter. As Sophie is on her way to her next gig at a home in the woods, her mother pleads with her to download a new app called See For Me, which connects blind individuals via video chat to sighted helpers.
It’s not until she accidentally locks herself out of the house she’s staying in that she begrudgingly decides to download the app and get help from Kelly, a video gamer whose calm yet commanding tone reassures Sophie that she is capable but stuck in an unusual situation. Kelly quickly gains Sophie’s trust by treating her simply with respect. It seems that Sophie is used to people treating her like a child since she’s lost her vision. It takes a bit of coaxing and atypical skills but Kelly is able to help Sophie break into the home through a locked sliding glass door but another hurdle arises when the home alarm goes off. A panicked race through the house to turn off the alarm is the first time you feel that adrenaline rush and sense of urgency. Kelly is able to help Sophie successfully silence the alarm before police are notified. This isn’t the last time Sophie will need Kelly’s help as later on in the night there’s a few unexpected visitors that assumed the home would be empty while they carry out their plan to take something quite valuable from a locked safe.
Although the plot line is a predictable home invasion story with all the standard setups of a place in the woods and a seemingly helpless young girl at risk of imminent danger from scary possibly violent criminals, it pleasantly surprises you. Sophie may be vision impaired but she’s not going to let these guys play her off as a victim.
The overall theme of this movie is an effort to combat ableism and see the whole person, not just their disability. Typically in the past a role like Sophie’s would have been given to a sighted actor pretending to be blind, Al Pacino, Denzel Washington, and Val Kilmer to mention a few. But this film stars Skyler Davenport, an actress who has personally experienced adult onset vision loss. This is an important step in ensuring representation of differently abled actors in film and television.
See For Me is available to stream via VIFF Connect ‘til the end of the festival and in-cinema Oct 4.
The 40th annual Vancouver International Film Festival in on now until Oct 11.
Tickets and info visit viff.org