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‘I’m Fine’ is the catchphrase for sadness

Critically acclaimed, the film 'I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)' powerfully explores themes of ongoing loss we’ve experienced recently, while telling everyone we’re okay
Thu, May 19, 2022

Often, when someone replies with, “I’m fine,” they are not. Neither is Danny, a recently widowed mother who is destitute. Having lost her home, she is forced onto the streets, taking refuge on the side of the road in a tent, while trying to convince her eight-year-old daughter that they are on a camping trip. Except it has been weeks, and the jig is getting old, especially for her young child.

Shot and set during the peak of Covid-19, I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) is a poignant and emotional tale that follows Danny (Kelley Kali) as she tries to raise the $200 she is short of to secure an apartment. Having largely relied on her husband Sam, she is forced to raise the money by taking on piece jobs, including braiding people’s hair on their porches (masks in tow), and delivering food on skates – her only mode of transport.

Set over one day, the film is a clever exploration of some of the themes that have emerged over the course of the pandemic: loss, economic hardship and the desperation that so many have felt – all the while pretending or telling people that all is fine.

When one of her clients fails to pay her due to their own economic challenges, Danny’s increasingly desperate situation forces her to consider making some difficult decisions, including the possibility of pawning the last thing she has of her husband’s – his wedding ring.

Breakout star, Kali, is easily one of the highlights of the film. Having written, co-directed and co-produced the indie film, the actor’s performance is a fine balance between strength and vulnerability.

Despite the morbid theme of the film, the filmmakers manage to tell Danny’s story without falling into the trap of overzealous emotional montages, but rather elicit the necessary emotion by giving an honest take on a young mother’s quiet desperation. As such, it also becomes an ode to mothers who try to shield their children from the harrowing realities facing their families.

But the film will resonate with more than just mothers. The overriding theme of loss is one that many will identify with: loss of self; loss of the life we had envisioned; and loss of hope and control over our circumstances at a time when everyone is just trying to stay afloat.

Following the protagonist’s story over one day will also speak to what has become the warping of time we have experienced over the past two years, where a day can feel like an eternity, but at the same time, can yield very little.

The micro-budget film was mostly funded by Covid-19 stimulus cheques, but the team still managed to win the 2021 Special Jury Award at the prestigious SXSW Film Festival, and the critics agree, as I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) has a 95% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) is available to stream on Showmax