Forced to return home from college after her erratic behavior alienates everyone around her (namely her amusingly panicked roommate), Clemence begrudgingly begins an undesired new chapter in the suburbs, hell-bent on defying her Mom (J. Smith-Cameron), Dad (Steve Buscemi), younger siblings, therapist—and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. But as the realization of her situation begins to set in, Clemence pushes herself to maintain a strict medication schedule, find a job and show up to her appointments, all whilst maintaining a bitingly quick intellect and antagonizing, razor-sharp wit that keeps everyone around her on their toes.
In Alex Heller’s impressive feature debut, The Year Between, that she wrote, directed and stars in, we are introduced to a truly one-of-a-kind character. Heller’s depiction of a young adulthood stalled from mental illness is one that alternates between laugh out loud hysterical to painfully visceral in its disturbing authenticity. From parents and siblings that vacillate between lovingly pushing her to get better to siblings that just want her to act “normal” to a new love interest that is struggling in his own right, The Year Between is an exciting and hugely entertaining tale about learning to adapt to an unexpected and often painful new phase. —Liza Domnitz