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The body of a homeless woman is found in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse. Beside the body, lies a diary that documents a journey of starvation and the loss of sanity, but told with poignance, beauty, humor, and spirituality. For nearly four months, Linda Bishop survived on apples and rain water, waiting for God to save her, during one of the coldest winters on record. As her story unfolds from different perspectives, including her own, we learn about our systemic failure to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
The shocking and immensely sad story of one woman's battle with schizophrenia
"God Knows Where I Am" (2017 release; 97 min.) is a documentary about Linda Bishop. As the movie opens, we are at "393 Mountain Road, Concord, New Hampshire" and it is "May 3, 2008". The body of a woman is found in an empty house by a prospective buyer who was taking a look inside. It's not long before the body is identified as being Linda Bishop. The investigating cop cannot believe his good fortune that she left a diary of the last months of her life. It contains a letter saying: "To whomever finds my body, I am a victim of domestic violence/abuse." The documentary goes back in time to Linda's upbringing and youth... At this point we're 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the story would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the directing debut of long time documentary producers Jedd and Todd Wider ("Taxi to the Dark Side"). Here they bring the story of a woman whose death seems suspect. Was she abused? Was she on the run form the law? The directors do a marvelous job at going back in time, and the slowly letting things unfold, as if taking off lawyer after layer from an onion. Of course this film could never have been made without the extraordinary journals of Linda Bishop (who are read in a voice over during much of the film). This movie sheds new light on the incredible and devastating illness that is schizophrenia. Sometime in the film it is mentioned that there are 2.5 million people in this country suffering from schizophrenia, of which HALF deny that there is anything wrong with them (Linda Bishop was one of those). Linda's sister, daughter, and a slew of friends and others who know her are all interviewed at length. It all makes for a terrific, if very sad, documentary. "Dear God, please save me" are the opening words of the film (from Bishop's journals). And that's just the first emotional gut punch. Don't tell me you weren't warned...
"God Knows Where I Am" opened out of the blue and without any pre-release hype or advertising at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. Curiosity got the better of me, so I checked it out. So glad I did. The Sunday matinée screening where I saw this at was attended okay but not great (probably the perfect weather had something to do with that). If you like documentaries, by all means do not miss this one but be prepared for a emotional wallop. "God Knows Where I Am" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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