Tired of Trying: a review of Vicky Wight’s film The Volunteer

Leigh is going through something.

After dramatically quitting her job, she collapses into a deep depression. Drinking and consumed with guilt over her rash decision, she stumbles into volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Knocked out of the daily orbit of her status quo husband, flawlessly played by Hill Harper, she begins a friendship with an intriguing homeless man named Ethan. Exploring the beautiful simplicity of his world, Leigh falls into an affair so tender that she easily ignores the troubling signs of Ethan’s instability. As the fantasy unravels, she must face the realities that she’s been avoiding and somehow put her life back together.

Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s performance as Ethan highlight’s the private pain of mental illness without any of the stigmatizing horror twists made standard by other movies, and Aunjanue Ellis’ turn as Leigh is so natural and compelling that she often speaks volumes in scenes that are absent of dialogue.

Excellent supporting performances by Mary Beth Hurt and Scott Wolf add depth to the story as they guide our main character toward a simple realization that so many people miss. If you truly want to be a force of good for others, you must first clean up your own internal mess.

Watch The Volunteer on Seed&Spark today.