Veronika Decides to Die (film)

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Veronika Decides to Die
VeronikaDecidesToDie USPoster.jpg
Directed by Emily Young
Produced by Sriram Das
Written by Paulo Coelho (book)
Larry Gross
Based on Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar
Jonathan Tucker
Erika Christensen
Melissa Leo
David Thewlis
Narrated by Sarah Michelle Gellar
Music by Murray Gold[1]
Distributed by First Look International[2] Entertainment One Films[3]
Release date
  • August 21, 2009 (2009-08-21) (Brazil)
  • January 20, 2015 (2015-01-20) (United States)
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,369,647 (foreign)[4]

Veronika Decides to Die is a 2009 psychological drama film directed by Emily Young and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar,[5] Jonathan Tucker,[6] Melissa Leo, David Thewlis, and Erika Christensen.[7] The film is written by Larry Gross and Roberta Hanley and is adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name by Paulo Coelho.[8]

The setting of the movie is New York instead of the original location of the novel in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Although living what looks like a successful life, Veronika (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is depressed and cannot find meaning in her existence. Intending suicide, she takes an overdose, blaming her attempted suicide on the failure of the world to recognize what is "real". She wakes inside an exclusive and expensive mental asylum only to learn that the overdose has left her prone to an aneurysm that will kill her in a matter of weeks.

At first, Veronika wants only to accelerate the process, and even a visit by her adoptive parents fails to rekindle her will to live. Her parents love her, but while they are prepared to spend their dwindling resources to get her what help they can (not knowing her death is imminent anyway), they don't truly understand her. They discouraged her from accepting a full musical scholarship at Juilliard because they wanted her to get a degree that could earn her a living. They do not see how she despairs at their constraints.

In spite of herself and in spite of her disappointment with her materialistic life, Veronika finds renewed purpose through playing the asylum's piano and through observing and then connecting with the schizophrenic Edward (Jonathan Tucker). Not only does she recover her own will to live, Veronika helps Edward come out of his catatonic state, and the pair soon 'escape' (Dr Blake, looking out his window, observes them escaping, but doesn't send for anyone to bring them back) from the asylum together, determined to enjoy Veronika's final days as a couple.

Veronika does not know that her aneurysm is the invention of her unorthodox psychiatrist Dr. Blake (David Thewlis), who is testing his theory that convincing her she has only weeks to live will restore her to health and cure her desire to commit suicide. He explains his treatment through letter to his estranged wife, a colleague from the asylum. Most people who attempt suicide repeat their attempts until successful.[citation needed] As long as she does not know the truth, he theorizes, she will consider each day as if it might be her last and thus treasure it. This is, he notes, actually true, as nobody knows when their end will come.

When Veronika drifts off one morning on a bench at sunrise, Edward believes he has lost her, but his grief transforms to joy when she wakes. Celebrating what they believe might be one more day, the pair embrace and walk happily on the beach in the morning light, laughing and hold hands.



Filming of the movie began on May 12, 2008 in New York City and wrapped on June 21. The novel was adapted for film by Muse Productions, Das Films, and Velvet Steamroller Entertainment.[9] It was reported that Kate Bosworth was previously attached to the project.[10]


Key scenes of the film use piano pieces The Recital in the Night by Murray Gold (from the Piano Set collection). However, later version (possibly the US release)[11] features a different piece.[12]


The film had a special screening in Brazil on August 7, 2009 and was followed by an August 21 release. On its opening weekend, it grossed US$90,455 with 61 screens.[13] The film was released in Poland on October 2, 2009,[14] in Sweden on October 30, 2009,[15] and in South Korea on November 19, 2009.[16] It was released in Argentina on July 1, 2010, in Austria on November 18, 2010, in Germany on September 30, 2010, in Lithuania on April 23, 2010, and in Mexico on September 10, 2010.[4] In Australia, it was released on a region free PAL DVD.

It was never officially released in the UK.[17]

The film was released in select theaters and VOD on January 20, 2015 in the USA and DVD on March 17, 2015.

To promote the release, a scene was shown on "The Hollywood Reporter" website in January 2015. (

In 2015, the film became available to view on the Netflix streaming service.


External links[edit]