Brain on Fire

You look like a tanned smurf!

Year Released : 2016

Director : Gerard Barrett

Cast : Chloe Grace Moretz, Thomas Mann, Richard Armitage, Tyler Perry, Carrie Ann Moss and Jenny Slate

I said last year whilst going through my top hundred films of 2016 that although I really like Chloe Grace Moretz, she is rarely in a good film these days, I hope one day she is. She was great in “Kick Ass”, her breakout performance, but since then her movies have all kind of sucked, hence why I ranked her films 88th (Bad Neighbours 2) and 86th (The Fifth Wave) last year.

The trailer made me want to watch this straight away, but I am not that optimistic for it. The rest of the cast isn’t that great, other than Slate (who will have a film in my top ten at the end of this year as it stands), but we’ll see. For all I know this could be awesome.


Susannah (Moretz) gets home from her dream job and celebrates her birthday, but whilst listening to the ‘happy birthday’ song she experiences a mental block and can’t think or move for a few seconds. The same happens the next morning when she is in a meeting with her boss (Perry) as he tells her about an excellent opportunity. After this continues for a few days she sees a doctor, but he confirms everything is fine. During an interview with the senator she behaves irrationally and briefly collapses.

A few days later she finds herself in hospital with her boyfriend (Mann). Her parents (Moss and Armitage) convince her to move home for a while so she can be monitored. The doctors are adamant it is alcohol abuse and refuse to hospitalise until her parents refuse to leave their office.

Can the doctors diagnose what is wrong with her?

A rare good Moretz flick?

I reflected in my opening statement that I will one day no doubt see a good Chloe Grace Moretz film again, but I didn’t know what day it was, but I can confirm that it is definitely not this day.

Moretz herself is reasonable in the role, but it is a fairly similar in many ways to one of her other films, “If I Stay”, which whilst I enjoyed, was full of cliches and unfortunately “Brain on Fire” is very much the same. It is such a shame that an actress that I enjoy watching consistently chooses such poor films to be in. Hopefully as she gets older this will change because otherwise she will be in danger of being easily overshadowed by actresses of similar ages, such as the exceptional Elle Fanning.

The reason that I don’t rate this film very highly is that is drags very, very badly. I had to pause at one point to go and get my clothes out of a washing machine and I looked in confusion that I had only watched 30 minutes, it felt like I had been watching for close on fifty at the time. For a film that is less than ninety minutes long (around 87 to be more precise), it felt longer than efforts I have seen that are considerably longer.

There aren’t really any characters in this. Carrie Ann Moss is just sort of there, Thomas Mann provided nothing more than a love interest and Richard Armitage is the man who doesn’t understand that doctors don’t know everything right away. None of them have a secondary characteristic, and the problem is that other than a very brief introduction to her, you know very little about Susannah as well. About two minutes of the movie pass before the medical issue starts.


It’s never a good sign when the film only lasts 87 minutes and yet you can’t help but feel that it drags, and this drags very badly. Moretz is fine, but that’s about as good as I can get with regards to positives.

“Brain on Fire” is completely forgettable and give it a year and I’ll see it on the “List of Reviews” and struggle to remember anything that happened.

Just don’t bother.


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