Boy Interrupted

Published on 28th March 2016 by

The extraordinary story of Evan Perry and his journey to suicide at the age of 15. This 2009 documentary closely follows Evan and his parents through extensive archive footage taken by his filmmaker parents.

From the age of seven, Evan began to express a deep fascination with death which evolved into depressive and suicidal behaviour. Evan’s parents were understandably concerned, not least because of their family’s link to bipolar disorder and in particular Evan’s Uncle Scott who had committed suicide himself.

Evans parents skilfully put together a wealth of archive footage of Evan, interlaced with interviews from bereaved family and friends. We become hugely involved in all sides of Evan’s artistic, and at times brilliant personality. At the same time, Evan’s parents struggle to handle his problematic mood swings and depressive behaviour.

Dana and Hart structure the documentary chronologically so that we are able to see the progression of Evan’s illness, whilst simultaneously witnessing his family’s own sorrow and regret at how his life turned out. Memories of Evan are recalled, as his parents try to reinterpret the events of his life in the hope of understanding how such a tragedy could have occurred.

This documentary is not an attempt to describe bipolar disorder or to explain the suicidal tendencies that Evan held throughout his short life. Instead it is a painful look at how a young child could be so misunderstood and the pursuit of closure on the part of his parents. It is also a beautiful and artistic portrayal of a brilliant young boy put together by his parents with the clear intention of celebrating his life.

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