Before I Disappear

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Before I Disappear
Before I Disappear.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byShawn Christensen
Produced by
Written byShawn Christensen
Based onCurfew
by Shawn Christensen
Music byDarren Morze
CinematographyDaniel Katz
Edited by
  • Andrew Napier
  • Damon Russell
  • Fuzzy Logic Pictures
  • Wigwam Films
  • Strongman
Distributed by
Release date
  • March 10, 2014 (2014-03-10) (South by Southwest)[1]
  • November 28, 2014 (2014-11-28)
Running time
93 minutes
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Box office$10,078[2]

Before I Disappear is a 2014 American drama film directed by Shawn Christensen. The film is a feature-length adaptation of his 2012 Oscar-winning short film, Curfew. The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest Film on March 10, 2014.[3] The film was acquired for distribution by IFC Films on August 5, 2014 and released on November 28, 2014.[1][4]


In New York City, Richie (Shawn Christensen), a downtrodden young man whose girlfriend, Vista (Isabelle McNally), recently disappeared, discovers the corpse of a girl who died from a heroin overdose while he is cleaning bathroom stalls at a nightclub. The club owner, Bill (Ron Perlman), arranges for her body to be removed without notifying the authorities.

At his apartment, Richie attempts suicide by cutting one of his wrists in a bathtub, when he receives a call from his estranged sister, Maggie (Emmy Rossum), asking him to look after her eleven-year-old daughter, Sophia (Fátima Ptacek). Richie goes to her school, where she recites "Because I could not stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson in both English and Mandarin Chinese. Richie takes her to her apartment before heading home, where he attempts suicide by drug overdose. Richie hallucinates a drug dealer calling him on the phone, threatening him by saying he is in the building. Sophia calls, however, and informs Richie that her mother has not returned home.

Richie arrives at the lobby of Maggie's apartment, where he discovers that the drugs he took were Zolafren, intended for menopause. Outside Maggie's apartment, a suspicious-looking woman asks Richie about his sister's whereabouts. After entering, Maggie calls the apartment, indicating to Richie that she is in central booking and upon hearing of the woman, orders Richie to sneak Sophia out of the building.

Richie takes Sophia to a bowling alley where he works. Richie calls central booking, who inform him that his sister was arrested and is awaiting arraignment at 4:30 AM. The owner of the bowling alley, Gideon (Paul Wesley), has Richie brought to the office. Gideon informs him that his girlfriend has been missing for a day, with her last whereabouts being at Bill's nightclub, and produces a photograph, which Richie recognizes as being of the dead woman he saw the night before. Richie denies knowledge of her whereabouts. He calls Bill, who tells him to come in at 1:30 AM to discuss the situation.

As a favor to Richie, Gideon allows Maggie the use of his lawyer, Bruce Warham (Richard Schiff), who informs Maggie that in the public's eyes, she is a mistress, due to her having sexual relations to a married man, despite having been assaulted.

Richie tells Sophia about flip books he made growing up about a character called "Sophia". He brings Sophia to his former apartment in a downtrodden part of town, where he retrieves some flip books and calms his panicked niece by presenting the premise of a girl who dies in intricate ways, but comes back by the next installment. He then collapses from blood loss, but refuses to go to a hospital, due to promising Maggie to keep Sophia safe.

After Sophia tells him the cruel things her estranged father, Darren (Fran Kranz), says to her, Richie assaults him at his work. Richie and Sophia visit Bill, who divulges that Gideon's girlfriend had been resisting his advances and in retaliation, he gave her heroin. Richie returns to Maggie's apartment, where he returns Sophia home. Sophia tells him that his constant love letters to Vista would work if he told her he loves her.

Having reached an epiphany, Richie confronts Gideon, telling him what happened to his girlfriend. Gideon and his armed thugs abduct Richie, then drop him off alongside the road, before speeding off to deal with Bill. Richie re-encounters the blonde woman, who is revealed to be the wife of Maggie's lover. Richie makes his rendezvous with a released Maggie and escorts her to her apartment.

Maggie tells Richie that she does not want him to stay in her daughter's life, fearing him to be a "false idol". Richie tells her how much he looked up to her when they were younger and how much he still looks up to her now. He returns to his bathtub and prepares to kill himself, when Maggie calls him, inviting him over for dinner. Richie writes a much shorter letter to Vista, stating that he loves and misses her, before looking up and seeing an image of her sitting across from him.



Before I Disappear had its worldwide premiere at South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 11, 2014, where it won the Audience Award and was nominated for the Grand Jury Award.[5] Following SXSW, the film was shown at a handful of festivals, including the 71st Venice International Film Festival, where it was the only American film that was selected for the Venice Days program.[6] IFC Films was announced to have acquired the American distribution rights to Before I Disappear on August 5, 2014. IFC gave the film a limited theatrical release on November 28, 2014.[1]

Home media[edit]

Simultaneous with the home media distribution of Before I Disappear, IFC released the film on November 28, 2014 on video on demand via and iTunes.[1] The film was released on DVD and Netflix on May 19, 2015.[7]


Box office[edit]

The film opened on November 28, 2014 in one theater and on select VOD platforms. As of August 2016, it earned $10,078 from five screens.

Critical response[edit]

The film won the South by Southwest Audience Award and was in competition at the Venice Film Festival.

On Rotten Tomatoes it holds a 38% rating based on 29 critic reviews and an average rating of 6.2/10.[8] Metacritic gives the film a rating of 47/100 based on 13 critic reviews.[9]

Moviefone called it "visually daring, nearly wondrous, and might be the best late night New York movie since Martin Scorsese's After Hours.[10] Justin Chang of Variety called it "visually well mounted, but too overwrought to really convince or resonate".[11] Eric Kohn of Indiewire rated it B− and wrote that the film "contains all the strong moments that distinguished Curfew while surrounding them with a lot of superfluous additions".[12] Mark Adams of Screen Daily described it as "a stylish and beautifully shot adaptation, strong on performance and a nicely nuanced script, but in the end perhaps lacking an expanded story to suit its feature length."[13] David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter wrote a negative review, in which he criticized the writing and flow of the film as being sporadic, but gave credit to the performances of the actors.[14]


Award Date of Ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
South by Southwest March 11, 2014 Audience Award Before I Disappear Won [5]
SXSW Grand Jury Award Before I Disappear Nominated
Vail Film Festival March 28, 2014 Best Feature Film Before I Disappear Won [15]
Ashland Independent Film Festival April 7, 2014 Best Cinematography Daniel Katz Won [16]
Nashville Film Festival April 26, 2014 Grand Jury Prize Before I Disappear Won [17]
Hill Country Film Festival May 3, 2014 Best Feature Film Before I Disappear Won [18]
71st Venice International Film Festival September 6, 2014 Venice Days Award Before I Disappear Nominated [19]
Northeast Film Festival September 7, 2014 Best Feature Before I Disappear Won [20]
Best Director of a Feature Shawn Christensen Won
Best Actor in a Feature Shawn Christensen Won
Best Actress in a Feature Fátima Ptacek Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Ron Perlman Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Paul Wesley Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Feature Isabelle McNally Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Feature Emmy Rossum Won
Best Screenplay Before I Disappear Nominated
Skyline Indie Film Fest September 14, 2014 Festival Winner Before I Disappear Won [citation needed]
Best Feature Before I Disappear Won
Fan Favorite Before I Disappear Won
Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival September 28, 2014 Best Lead Actor Shawn Christensen Won [citation needed]
Best Cinematography Daniel Katz Won
Audience Award Before I Disappear Won
Hollywood Film Festival October 19, 2014 Best Narrative Feature Before I Disappear Won [21]
Collinsville Film Festival May 17, 2015 Whole Foods Audience Choice Best Feature Film Before I Disappear Won [22]
Avery’s Beverages Best Narrative Feature Before I Disappear Won


  1. ^ a b c d Jagernauth, Kevin (October 28, 2014). "Watch: Trailer For SXSW Audience Award Winner 'Before I Disappear' Starring Emmy Rossum, Ron Perlman & More". Indiewire. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  2. ^ "Before I Disappear". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ "SXSW Schedule". South by Southwest. March 10, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  4. ^ Kilday, Gregg (August 5, 2014). "IFC Picks Up Shawn Christensen's SXSW-Winning 'Before I Disappear'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Smith, Nigel M. (March 17, 2014). "'Before I Disappear' and 'Vessel' Top SXSW Audience Award Winners". Indiewire. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  6. ^ Rooney, David (August 17, 2014). "'Before I Disappear': Venice Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  7. ^ Moore, Kasey (April 23, 2015). "May 2015 Netflix US Preview". What's New on Netflix. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  8. ^ "Before I Disappear (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Before I Disappear". Metacritic. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  10. ^ Taylor, Drew (March 17, 2014). "SXSW 2014: Ranking All 25 Movies We Saw at This Year's Festival". Moviefone. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  11. ^ Chang, Justin (March 17, 2014). "SXSW Film Review: 'Before I Disappear'". Variety. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  12. ^ Kohn, Eric (March 11, 2014). "SXSW Review: Oscar-Winning Short Film Receives Questionable Feature-Length Upgrade With 'Before I Disappear'". Indiewire. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  13. ^ Adams, Mark (March 14, 2014). "Before I Disappear". Screen Daily. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  14. ^ Rooney, David (August 27, 2014). "'Before I Disappear': Venice Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
  15. ^ "Vail Film Festival Announces 2014 Winners". Vail Film Festival. April 3, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  16. ^ Cwik, Greg (April 18, 2014). "Why Should You Care About Another Regional Film Festival? This One In Florida Has the Answer". Indiewire. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  17. ^ O'Connell, Max (April 25, 2014). "Nashville Film Festival Award Winners Include 'Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me' and 'Club Sandwich'". Indiewire. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  18. ^ "HCFF AWARDS". Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  19. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (July 22, 2014). "Venice Film Festival Venice Days Section Unveils Diverse Lineup". Variety.
  20. ^ "2014 AWARD WINNERS". Northeast Film Festival. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  21. ^ Olsen, Mark (October 19, 2014). "Hollywood Film Festival awards for '#ChicagoGirl,' 'Before I Disappear'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  22. ^ "Collinsville Film Festival - 2015 Award-Winning Films". Collinsville Film Festival. May 18, 2015. Retrieved June 11, 2015.

External links[edit]