Out of Darkness (1994) Diana Ross, Ann Weldon, Rhonda Stubbins White, Beah Richards, Carl Lumbly Movie Review

Out of Darkness (1994)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Diana Ross in Out of Darkness (1994)

Shockingly Brilliant

Paulie Cooper (Diana Ross - Double Platinum) was once a third year med student on the verge of sitting her exams when all of her sudden her mind snapped and she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. That was 18 years ago and in that time her family would go through a cycle of events as Paulie would be fine but then stop taking her meds until she runs away, has a breakdown event in public and thrown into another medical facility till released. It is how Paulie finds herself in another medical facility and not only desperate to return home to live with her mum, Virginia (Ann Weldon), but to do her best to rebuild her life with the help of doctors and experimental drugs.

I have been pondering what to say about "Out of Darkness", how to describe it for the simple reason this isn't so much a movie with a story but a movie about living with schizophrenia. As such we firstly get to see various elements which make up Pauline's life such as being unable to sleep, dark moods, soiling herself, people staring at her when she has one of here breakdowns and much more. And this is where you find yourself most captivated by the performance of Diana Ross who delivers one of the most staggering performances you will come across as she becomes this woman totally controlled by her mental condition to the point she is dangerous. To put this as simply as I can, if "Out of Darkness" had been given a theatrical run I would say Diana Ross would have an minimum been nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

But "Out of Darkness" is not just about watching Diana Ross deliver a captivating performance we also get to see how Paulie's family struggle with her condition especially her sister who when she was younger felt like she needed to be ill to get any sort of attention whilst also afraid of her sister due to an incident involving her medication. And there is more as we also see how the side effects of medication cause Paulie issues from bed wetting to uncontrollable drooling. I really could go on because this movie puts in everything it can in to the mix when it comes to schizophrenia from sibling conflict to different things being triggers as well as how some people with schizophrenia have different coping mannerisms to the point of them coming across as quirks.

What this all boils down to is that "Out of Darkness" is two things; firstly it is a very powerful look at life with schizophrenia and how it affects not just the person with it but those close to them. And secondly it features a staggering performance from Diana Ross who is almost unrecognizable as she brings to life the character of Paulie when she is at her lowest.