Stateside (2004) Haphazardly Handles Schizophrenics and their Relationships

Stateside DVD Cover

The Romantic-Drama Stateside (2004) by Director Reverge Anselmo, starring Jonathan Tucker in the lead role as Mark Deloach and Rachael Leigh Cook as the schizophrenic actress/rock-star Dori Lawrence, is based on the Director’s true story. Although watchable, this was one of my “library pickups” when I queried “Schizophrenia” and this title (amongst others) came up. You can purchase the DVD on Amazon for a few bucks, it’s the only option to watch this movie (sorry no blu ray or streaming options) unless you can find your library to loan it out to you. To sum it up bluntly, Stateside doesn’t age well.

I do have to say, it isn’t much so about schizophrenia but more about how relationships are affected when someone has schizophrenia. In this case, the character of Dori is schizophrenic who is in a relationship with Mark Deloach, who is a high school student sent to the Marine Corps to offset a jail sentence for drunk driving. This is a coming of age story- a boy turning into a man. A girl recovering from a perpetual mental illness. Watching the film is one thing, relating to the film is another.

One of the questions they kept asking in the special features was “Who’s this movie for? and”What kind of audience would like this movie?” The movie tries too hard to appeal to the masses and that’s where it fails. Instead of targeting the audience that is affected by these types of relationships it really limits itself to being a “love-story between two parallels”. There is absolute adversity on both characters part, just that the way it’s expressed makes it seem both unrealistic and pretentious.

Rachael Leigh Cook as “Dori Lawrence”

As a schizophrenic myself, what stood out most was the character of Dori Lawrence. This movie isn’t about her. It’s more about Mark Deloach and how he’s affected. When it comes time for Dori to shine it seems like a botched up job just to finish off the story. It is set in the 1980s and is based off of a true story. Perhaps, the time that it’s set is in just a period in which schizophrenia was completely misunderstood.

Val Kilmer and his scenes with Jonathan Tucker are rather enjoyable. Halfway through the film, you’ll feel like you were watching something going nice and smooth and then the story unfolds haphazardly. On my scale, you can TRY TO WATCH this film but it isn’t one you SHOULD, OR MUST WATCH. It’s rated 24% on Rotten Tomatoes and 5.8 on IMDB.

I’d like to comment further but you can be the judge. In all honesty, it may have been a personal endeavor for the director, but it would have been handled better if it was assigned to someone else. I’m sorry but as a schizophrenic, I feel it doesn’t do justice to the subject matter.