The subject of the movie, Judd's Helen is just very unlikable and unsympathetic. The supporting actress turns in a better performance. But Helen is an entitled woman who scampers around in her own idealistic world with the glow of self-satisfaction of being beautiful, rich, tinkering at a hobby veiled as a “career” and a perfect husband who makes it all possible. Helen is the princess on a pedestal. For her birthday at her perfect house with her perfect friends and family she gets a grand piano from her perfect husband. Then in the space of a few days she does a complete 180 and goes totally off the rails for apparently no reason.
Judd does portray the selfishness and victimization of mental illness realistically. The way she never tells her husband of her past before marrying, and traumatizes her child and then leaves her without an explanation. The way she just expects her employer to give her all the time off from work she needs because well, she’s “Helen.” Helen never once stops to think what her suicide attempts would do to her teenager. Helen’s best friend, the supporting actress who is great by the way, takes Helen to her beach house where her Mom committed suicide that contributed to her mental illness. What did Helen do? Instead of reaching out to her daughter, or comforting her friend, Helen runs right out that night and tries to drown herself at the same beach house so her friend can find her and relive her personal horror of suicide and her daughter can experience such horrors too. To me Helen was just so entitled she was unsympathetic. I know she was sick but she was totally self-absorbed and it appeared her character was that way even when not depressed.