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Marilee J. Layman

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07:39 pm: The Bridge
This is a documentary about Golden Gate Bridge suicides. I have a friend whose minor son jumped last year and she has become more involved in pushing to put suicide barriers up than we expected. One of the articles I read mentioned this movie so I put it on my queueueue and popped it to the top.

I was surprised that there is no voice-over or intro or anything by the documentary maker. We hear from the families and friends of people who jumped, from a man who stopped a girl from jumping, and from a young man who jumped and survived. The first two-thirds of the movie mostly concentrated on people with mental illness other than depression, and that's not why most people jump. The families of these folks seemed rather clueless, especially one brother who insisted someone had pushed his sister off (and his other sister says it's because if their sister jumped, he believed she had sinned). One family took a "we can't keep him from this anymore" attitude, but they still didn't really seem to understand why he did it.

The friend of one of the jumpers who was depressed said that he was angry at the jumper because he hurt people by doing it. He had no clue that the guy jumped because he hurt so much. The friends of most of the other jumpers (in the last third) had been given clear indications that the person was in trouble and suicidal, but didn't act. Some of them said they didn't want to get involved. Some said it wasn't their place.

I think competent adults are allowed to kill themselves, but those of us who know people who are suicidal have an obligation to try and moderate that, even if it means they go to a mental hospital for a while. If attempts to help have been made, and the person is still suicidal, then you have to let them go.

This was a disquieting movie, not so much for the jumpers (we see people jump, but not hit the water), but for the people around them who could have helped and didn't. I recommend it. We should all find better ways to help people.

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From:mjlayman
Date:September 8th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
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Exactly.
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From:annafdd
Date:September 8th, 2008 01:49 am (UTC)
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I have to say that when I saw it I left the cinema quivering with anger. I found the film totally irresponsible in the way it glamorized suicide, and specifically suicide by throwing yourself off the bridge. I later read the article on New Yorker that had inspired it and found it much, much better.
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From:mjlayman
Date:September 8th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
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I'd read that some folks thought it glamorized suicide. It didn't seem that way to me -- all those folks were dead except the one who survived, and frankly, it's hard to say how long he'll survive. He's clearly one of the mentally ill who we can't treat properly yet.

What made you think it glamorized the suicides?
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