Sick of Myself (2022) IMDB description: “Increasingly overshadowed by her boyfriend’s recent rise to fame as a contemporary artist creating sculptures from stolen furniture, Signe hatches a vicious plan to reclaim her rightfully deserved attention within the milieu of Oslo’s cultural elite.”
Why I took it off the list: I’d been hearing great things about this Norwegian film since it premiered in Cannes last year. And also that it was kind of unclassifiable: a mix of brutal dark comedy and harrowing drama with a splash of horror.
Intrigued, and seriously impressed by the last dark comedy from Norway that I saw, the awesome The Worst Person in the World (2021), I decided to check it out. So, let’s dig in!
Review of Sick of Myself (2022)
Although The Worst Person in the World could be dark at times, it was ultimately a rather uplifting story. That film’s protagonist clearly made some bad decisions and was a bit of a mess, but she was recognizable and likable. The latter quality is sorely lacking in Sick of Myself‘s protagonist, Signe, a somewhat unsavory character from the start who goes to some truly sickening lengths to get attention.
She starts out as one of the biggest on-screen narcissists since Charlize Theron in Young Adult (2011), constantly trying to bring the dinner table conversation back to her and make herself the center of attention at every turn. She obviously resents the increased fame her pretentious artist boyfriend is getting, and her tactics become increasingly desperate, including taking all the credit for helping a customer at her coffee shop who was mauled by a dog.
Things reach the point of no return, however, when she learns of a banned Russian pharmaceutical that has been making people’s skin break out into horrible rashes. Seeing the media attention the victims have gotten, she promptly orders as much as she can get her hands on, downs the pills, and sits back to see people’s reactions.
Like the protagonist of the similarly-themed Swallow (2019), Signe is clearly suffering from a mental illness that makes her disregard her own health. But her fantasies about getting her 10 minutes of fame and the pity she’ll receive from family and friends make her far less sympathetic a figure. Luckily, the film has a wicked sense of humor that keeps you entertained by her antics despite occasionally wanting to retch.
Disturbing and Hilarious in Equal Measure
Despite featuring some truly disturbing scenes of body horror, particularly later in the picture, Sick of Myself is full of dark humor and satire about our attention-seeking culture, political correctness, and the absurdities of the world of art and fashion. Despite the often gruesome (and excellently done) makeup effects used for Signe’s condition, Sick of Myself ultimately shares more of the tone of The Square (2017) or Triangle of Sadness (2022) than a David Cronenberg flick.
There are plenty of dark chuckles to be had here, including when the film takes aim at the ridiculous nature of Signe’s criminal boyfriend’s art exhibition and popularity. Or when it explores the absurdity of an ‘inclusive’ modeling agency that employs a blind secretary and disabled models only to bemoan their effectiveness.
Signe’s antics, although monstrous, are also frequently entertaining. From her attempts to provoke a dog into biting her, to an imagined appearance on national television, she’s fascinating to watch. Even though we hope we’re never tempted to go down a road as dark as the one she takes.
Final score: 8/10
Sick of Myself (2022): Worth Watching?
Yes, Sick of Myself is a hilariously dark satire that sits proudly alongside dark modern comedy classics like The Square (2017) and Triangle of Sadness (2022). Although the protagonist is deeply unlikable and some scenes are not for the squeamish, it’s a fascinating and somewhat ingenious film.
Sick of Myself (2022)
Written and directed by Kristoffer Borgli