Friday, November 19, 2021

freakboy on film: MY HEART CAN’T BEAT UNLESS YOU TELL IT TO (2020)

One of my favorite things to do is to take a chance on a film I know little to nothing about.  Sometimes I watch because of a movie poster (The Sweet Hereafter - 1997) or a title (The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot - 2018) or even because the film was released by a familiar company (Mangus!- 2011).  There has been a mixture of hits and misses over the years, but nothing detours me once my mind is set on a film. 

This thing I love doing continued recently at the library.  With my Mad Scientist Glasses on and focused, I was searching for something different to watch because I guess a freak can’t live on Andy Milligan films alone.  I pulled a recently added DVD off the shelf and studied its intriguing cover.  Two faces in profile were staring at each other with a long title in between on a white background.  The title was in red and black, but the font made it nearly impossible for my half-blind eyes to decipher.  Sometimes, if the words are large and plain enough, I can figure it out, but all I managed was… “MY…YOU TELL IT TO.”  

Between the two faces, one of which I thought looked angry, and the mystery of the title, I had to see what the hell this film was about.  Yes, I could’ve asked a librarian or my sister about the title and the synopsis on the back, but where’s the fun in that?  So I took a breath, popped in the disc and hit play. 

The DVD of my heart can’t beat unless you tell it to

I want to tell you everything I saw, but I also don’t want to spoil anything.  Knowing less is more as you slowly get drawn into the hypnotic story.  A story of blood.  The blood that binds us.  The blood that fuels us.  The blood that destroys us.  The blood that is family.

Actors Patrick Fugit, Ingrid Sophie Schram and Owen Campbell create a believable family unit brimming with dysfunction and resentment.  It almost feels like you could encounter these damaged characters in real life.  Writer/director Jonathan Curtas allows the claustrophobic story to unfold in a visually stark, realistic way.  

In conclusion, I consider MY HEART CAN’T BEAT UNLESS YOU TELL IT TO a hit on my list and it’s worth your time if you enjoy a moody film that makes you question how far you would go to help a loved one.  

BTW, I figured out the title during an unexpected scene.

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 


P.S.  Click the pic ⤵️ for more about family dysfunction and blood…

A scene of a family eating dinner


In case you want to go HAUNTING…

Haunting Sturgeons by john L. Harmon


  1. I'm intrigued! Nice write-up, John. Hmm... "Dysfunction and resentment" sure covers a lot of families, doesn't it?

    1. Thanks, Barry!
      I believe it’s worth keeping an eye out for and oh yes!
      That describes many gamilies! 😅

  2. I do love picking a random movie and discovering that it's a good one. And you write up has certainly got my attention...

    1. Thanks, Gill!
      I’ve encountered plenty of misses but this is a good one!