Starring – Henry Coombes, David Sillars, Jonathan Leslie, Marcella Mclntosh
Directed by Henry Coombes
I was so over therapy until I saw Seat In Shadow.
Actually, I’m still over therapy, because apparently therapy is over me, but Seat in Shadow proves that not all therapies are created equal. Some of them actually work! Or at least they do in movies.
Seat In Shadow is about Albert (in a crazy kick ass performance by David Sillars, who also co-wrote the film), an eccentric painter/Jung-inspired psychotherapist who reluctantly agrees to help a friend’s gay grandson, Ben (played with all too realistic perfection by Jonathan Leslie), who has debilitating depression and severe issues with body hair. And it being a movie, during their very unconventional therapy sessions, the therapist gets some therapy as well. And where can I get a therapist like Albert?
I’ve been in and out of therapy for twenty years now. In mostly instead of out, although for the last year I have been out of therapy because I had a conventional therapist who suddenly went unconventional on me, and this unconventional behavior led me to suddenly urgently need to get my ass out of there because she was actually damaging me instead of helping me. Let’s just say when your therapist becomes a fan of your writing, that isn’t necessarily a good thing. I now know what it’s like to have a sycophantic fan and after that awful experience, I will never understand why anyone would ever want to be famous if that is a side effect. And that is just one example of the awful experiences I have had with therapists in the twenty years I have mostly been seeing therapists when apparently I should have just said no thanks. I’ve had everything from a therapist trying to convince me that I wasn’t gay, to one that kept trying to convince me that not only was she NOT gay, but neither was her son (huh??!!), to a therapist who lectured me on how I couldn’t have possibly ever experienced homophobia as a child since I didn’t know I was gay when I was a child (another big, HUH??!!). Yes, I have had every bad therapist that is out there or else all therapists out there are bad. Take your pick, it ain’t good news either way.
So, when I turned on Seat In Shadow, I was ready to try some unconventional therapy from an unconventional therapist, because I’ve gone the conventional therapy route and it hasn’t helped me one damn bit. The only therapy that ever seemed to help me is the therapy I’ve gotten from TV shows and movies. Everything from The Sopranos to Please Like Me to The Prince of Tides have seen me through some dark days thanks to the unconventional therapists in them or the realistic portrayals of depression. And now I can add Seat In Shadow to that list of therapy from entertainment that has helped me more than the actual, in real life professional kind. Which is sad, because I really don’t think I should be getting the best therapy I’ve ever had from TV and movies, but it’s better than nothing, I guess.
Besides therapy being awful in my real life versus pretty damn good in my TV life, Seat In Shadow is one wild ride of a movie that sends your emotions all over the damn place. Wait, where are my emotions going now? Oh no, not there! Wait, I like that emotion. Can we stay on that nice emotion for a while? It is definitely an unconventional movie. As unconventional as Albert is with his therapy techniques. So unconventional is this movie, that as I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to describe it, going through scenes in my head, trying to put words to the pictures I’m seeing, but I can’t seem to find the words other than it is simply a beautifully gritty movie. Henry Coombes, the director and co-writer of Seat In Shadow, is a painter in real life and it shows in this film. Scenes in the movie are often times like looking at a painting, which could be why I can’t quite find the words to describe the movie. Whenever I see a painting that takes my breath away, I never seem to have words for the experience. And I guess that is what happened with Seat In Shadow. It’s a beautiful painting that you just have to see for yourself because there are no words to describe it. At least not for me. But like all art, Seat In Shadow isn’t necessarily for everyone because this movie is a thinker too. Images come and go and it’s up to you to decide what’s going on and what it all means. Humanity as a whole doesn’t seem to put in a lot of effort with thinking, so if you watch movies purely to escape, this one won’t let you escape. It pulls you in and makes you sit there in the characters’ pain and loneliness and frustration at life. It makes you figure out what it all means. And what it all meant to me was that life is always hard, you can’t escape that, but we need each other to survive it and we can if we just help each other.
I needed a good therapist to survive my hard life, but instead I got a lot of good therapy in my entertainment watching instead. That isn’t right. That isn’t fair. But that’s life. We all want to feel loved and to feel safe and that is what Seat In Shadow and life is all about. And after you watch Seat In Shadow, you might find yourself like me, finally feeling a little bit safe too.
Seat In Shadow is now available on DVD and VOD. You can get more information about the film from Peccadillo Pictures. And to check out some of Henry Coombes paintings, which actually helped me understand the movie even better, check out his website.
P.S.: Henry Coombes is also a psychotherapist in real life, which is probably why the therapy in this film felt so real. So Henry, taking any new patients? This girl needs a good therapist. 😉