MAJOR SPOILERS for Sometimes I Think About Dying lie ahead, so proceed with caution.
When Rachel Lambert’s Sometimes I Think About Dying premiered at Sundance Film Festival last January, the last thing one would probably expect from the independent film is the sudden cue of one of Disney’s most uplifting songs. The Daisy Ridley-led movie an introverted office worker's flawed attempt to connect with the people around her is a dark meditation on self-isolation. Yet, somehow, it was perfect that the end credits roll to a song from the first Disney animated movie, 1939’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (which nearly destroyed the company). Now, Lambert has revealed to CinemaBlend just why the tune was so crucial to the movie.
The exact piece of music that plays over the credits of the 2024 movie release is “With A Smile And A Song." When CinemaBlend spoke to Rachel Lambert and Daisy Ridley during a virtual interview in promotion of the movie, the director shared with us about how the track landed in the movie. In Lambert’s words:
[The song] was found in the edit. The decision to have the forest floor in the copy room was decided a couple days before we shot it on a day of. I called our production designer and said, ‘Hey, I had always been wanting a transcendent image for the finale. I'd been searching for it since the day I read the script.’ And it was maddening for me, truly maddening but I had to trust that I would find it. I just knew it would come at some point. And it did. We did try a few different versions of the ending that day because I didn't want to impose such a left-of-center choice without having other iterations in the edit. So then we got into the edit and it worked.
More on Daisy Ridley
Sometimes I Think About Dying is a small-scale story about Daisy Ridley’s Fran, a quiet office worker whose life changes when she gets a new co-worker in Dave Merheje’s Robert. The main story begins in earnest when Robert asks Fran out to a movie and, over the course of the narrative, they spend more and more time together. However, the movie is not just another one of our favorite romantic comedies. Fran finds it perpetually difficult to open up to Robert. As he probes to get to know her more after they go out to a party together, she defensively makes a hurtful remark toward him.
The film ends with Fran bringing donuts into the office and confronting Robert about what she said to him the other night. When she asks him if he regrets ever knowing her, he says he doesn’t “know her,” because she hasn’t let him in. Fran then confesses what has been visually communicated throughout the whole movie: she often fantasizes about dying.
The movie ends with Robert going in for a hug with Fran and the Snow White song playing out the movie. Sharing more with CinemaBlend about the inclusion of the Disney tune during that moment, Lambert continued:
I saw [editor Ryan Kendrick] click, click, click, click and he was on YouTube looking at the Snow White song and ripping it so he could just like put it on there. And as a gag he was gonna make me laugh. And then it started to play with the song. And I don't think he'd mind me saying this, but we both cried and we were silent and I said, I don't know why, but that is the most incredible feeling and we have to use it. And Disney very kindly let us use it.
So the notion of the song making its way into the movie came from Sometimes I Think About Dying’s editor, who thought of it while they were putting the film together in post-production. The idea led to both him and the filmmaker breaking down in tears (which is what the song can do to general moviegoers) before they decided to approach Disney about getting the rights to use the music. Take a listen for yourself:
The decision is one that may seem unusual on the surface, but it somehow very much communicates Fran’s experience of finally opening up to Robert after hiding her small but dark secret for so long. Kudos to Rachel Lambert and co. for really thinking outside the box. You can see the movie and check out the tender moment for yourself, as the romantic dramedy is now playing in select theaters alongside a host of other entries.