Tribeca 2024 Review: Some Rain Must Fall

There has been a recent trend in which independent features are shot in 4:3 box format, as opposed to the usual widescreen format (16:9), as an attempt to capture a feeling of claustrophobia or anxiety. And, in some regards, it works. David Lowery executed this formatting perfectly with A Ghost Story, as did Robert Eggers with The Lighthouse, both of which showcased its protagonists dealing with inner demons that they couldn’t control after particular events. Qiu Yang’s Some Rain Must Fall does the same thing, as our main character faces a showcase of issues presented and discussed, and the world feels like it’s closing in on her with each passing minute.

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To a degree, it’s effective, and there are moments that capture that feeling of uncertainty exceptionally well. Its pacing serves as symbols of fear and dread, wondering what else could possibly go wrong in our protagonist’s world. But it reaches a point where it becomes more tedious than it does impactful, and there are many loose ends that leave the viewer baffled and frustrated.

Some Rain Must Fall focuses on Cai (Yu Aier), a middle-aged housewife who has lost her purpose in life. An unfortunate and violent accident in the beginning of the film opens up a closet full of other issues, including estranged relationships with her daughter and her husband. The divorce papers are signed and ready to be delivered, but there is still some (albeit minor) attraction she has to her husband. As more issues start to become present to the viewer, it’s apparent that Cai is wandering in a world in which she initially desired (marriage, family, etc.) to now feeling like none of it was ever meant to be. The weight that hangs over her is growing heavier each passing day, and the world in which she lives feels gloomier.

The potential we see in the beginning is squashed as it becomes more about the amount of things Cai deals with and less about how she’s working through them. While we’re supposed to grieve with Cai, there’s an emotional disconnect between the script and the rest of the film. The setting is right for attempting to capture the grim reality she faces, and some of the technical aspects amplify the feeling by raising the background noise to drown out conversations and giving that wall-closing-in appearance with the aspect ratio.

But the movie doesn’t allow the viewer to truly connect to Cai and her emotions. It just presents an avalanche of issues and gives them some time onscreen, but it all feels empty by the time the movie ends.

David Wangberg

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