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Helen

3.9 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

“Ashley Judd’s performance is nothing short of riveting.” – The Huffington Post. On the outside, Helen (Ashley Judd) has the perfect life – a loving family, a beautiful house and a successful career – but when her suppressed mental illness resurfaces, the world crumbles around her. Crippled by depression, Helen befriends Mathilda (Lauren Lee Smith), a kindred spirit struggling with bipolar disorder. Together the two find the solace they had been seeking.

Special Features

Interviews with Ashley Judd, Goran Visnjic, Alexia Fast and Lauren Lee Smith

Product Details

  • Actors: Ashley Judd, Goran Visnjic, Lauren Lee Smith, Alexia Fast, Alberta Watson
  • Directors: Sandra Nettelbeck
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: E1 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 10, 2010
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003M986TS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,394 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Helen" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 15, 2010
Format: DVD
Sandra Nettlebeck both wrote and directed this somber, intense study about clinical depression. The film is long, is a one-note song, and is in need of editing and lightening - or is it? What Nettleback has created is an atmosphere that very likely simulates the way the world is viewed and coped with by those who are suffering from suicidal depression. It is a lesson as much as it is a film.

Helen (Ashley Judd) is a popular professor of music theory, and accomplished pianist, and the wife of handsome and successful lawyer David (Goran Visnjic), and mother of a charming teenager Julie (Alexia Fast) all of whom we meet at a surprise birthday party for Helen. But very gradually Helen begins to change from the ebullient happy woman to a more quiet, pensive, obviously injured woman. Concentration fails, she cannot get enough sleep, her connection to the world begins to crumble and finally she breaks into the depths of depression. Despite the support of David and Julie and denying the medical assistance of psychiatrist Dr. Sherman (Alberta Watson), Helen continues to sink deeper into the profound sadness of clinical depression. One of Helen's students, Mathilda (Lauren Lee Smith) seems to be one of the few people with whom Helen can relate: we are lead to discover Mathilda suffers from a similar disorder. The truth about Helen's medical history finally surfaces: she has had suicidal ideation and clinical depression in her past When married before to Frank (David Hewlett) and soon after the birth of Julie (?postpartum depression?) Helen required psychiatric hospitalization, her marriage failed, and she ultimately met David who has been the ideal husband and father for Julie.
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Format: DVD
This movie really hits home with what people that suffer from clinical depression go through, and how they shut out those that love them most, through no fault of their own, and how family members are helpless to help them. The struggle to overcome inner demons and depression is a road that is not understood by those who do not know how debilitating this illness can be. Ashley Judd gives an outstanding performance as the professor, and Goran Visnjic is so incredibly believable as her husband, who tries to reach her and help her out of her abyss. Lauren Lee Smith plays Mathilda, Helen's student who loses her mother to the same condition, and suffers from the same depression portrays her character as the lone person that is able to understand Helen, through support and presence - Excellent.
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Format: DVD
Writer and director Sandra Nettelbeck puts forth a piece of excellence, adding to it a musical orchestration (Tim Despic and James Barker) featuring a cello with its hauntingly mournful song underscoring an individual study of overwhelming mental illness. The cinematography (Michael Bertyl) starts with a little light and grows ever cloudy and dark as does the entire movie while spiraling downward along with Helen.

The character development of Helen is extraordinary and meticulously portrayed by Ashley Judd. Goran Visnjic portrays David as the most caring, frustrated, bewildered and equally supportive husband to Helen. Mathilda (Lauren Lee Smith) has you constantly questioning if there will ever be a life worth living for her. Needless to say, this movie is dark, painful and extremely reflective. It explores a topic that some may wish to turn their heads from and others, like me, are exceedingly interested in. This is not an easy view but an intense look into a very pervasive issue.

Helen is a college professor of music married to her second husband David, an attorney. She has a teenage daughter from her first marriage. At first blush, this family looks like your every day happy trio. Until something happens to Helen which causes her to begin acting completely out of character. She starts losing track of time, forgetting what has been transpiring with her class and losing the context of the lectures she is giving while speaking. As Helen is walking down the college hallway, she notices a lit room with a beckoning cello being played and curiously walks inside. One of her students, Mathilda, is all upset that she "just cannot get it right". The music isn't to her liking. Helen has a pull unawares toward her as does Mathilda at the same time.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
But so realistic, you will probably start feeling dark yourself.

For people with depression, this film might act as a trigger, so keep that in mind.

Judd did such a good portrayal I figured she must have gone through this, at some time, in her own personal life.

There is acting- and then there is knowing. She seems to know what it is like to have the BEAST show up in your life.

A good movie to teach people what major depression is like. The ending concludes on a realistic note as well.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I just saw Ashley Judd in the movie Divergent and it reminds me how under-rated she appears to be in whatever role she takes on. She is a great actress. The movie Helen is obviously very personal for her and I think that it is a fabulous movie. I show parts of it to my students in abnormal psychology when we cover depression and it always is a genesis for a lot of discussion.
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