Performer and actress Ellice Stevens suffers from bipolar condition. Some days, she feels really great and is confident and productive.
And then one day, it can shift in the other direction, pulling her into despondency and depression. During these lows, Ellice sits in her room for weeks as a time, her space getting messier — and her difficulties becoming more and more overwhelming.
Director Dorothy Allen-Pickard’s artful documentary explores bipolar disorder, and through skillful directing and editing, the film gives the audience a way to understand Ellice’s struggles in an empathetic, creative way.
The film recreates the claustrophobia of Ellice’s room while she’s on a low phase because of her bipolar condition, creating an engaging visual metaphor for the mental condition to distinguish it from depression and other illnesses of the heart and mind.
“The Mess” is a empathetic, compassionate portrait of what it’s like to struggle with a common but misunderstood disorder. Through understanding and illumination, the film demystifies and destigmatizes this mental illness, offering hope and a sense that no one is alone in their struggles, however it might seem.