I Love You, Now Die is a 2019 HBO documentary about the suicide of teenager Conrad Roy and the conviction of his girlfriend Michelle Carter for convincing him to do it.
5 out of 10 stars. Most documentaries try to be fair. This one didn’t try very hard.
On July 13, 2014, Conrad Roy parked his pickup at a local park with a tube feeding the exhaust into the cabin of the truck. He did this to kill himself and he died in agony over several hours. During that time, he sent a text to his girlfriend Michelle Carter telling her he wanted to get out. She told him to stay in the truck. This is what led to her conviction. Nothing else. The judge even says this at the end of her trial after her conviction.
What the documentary attempts to do is paint Conrad Roy as this sweet, innocent teenage boy. He was not. Conrad and Michelle exchanged over a thousand text messages but only met five times over the two years they knew each other. And in those text messages they were equally abusive to each other. Sometimes they were joking. Many times they were not. What is clear is that they each had serious emotional and family problems and chose each other as a way to act out their anger. That it ended in one of them dead is tragic, but anyone watching the two should have seen it coming.
What is known is that Conrad’s parents divorced and he became deeply depressed and never recovered. His father beat him up and Conrad called the police and reported it. When he met Michelle he fell in love with her via text, but every time she attempted to meet him in person he didn’t show and this made their relationship very toxic. It was a love-hate relationship that someone should have ended before it turned into a tragedy. Conrad attempted suicide in October of 2012 and was hospitalized. He had tried killing himself four times before.
Michelle also had a deeply disturbing life. She had an eating disorder for most of her adolescent life (bulimia) and was started on Prozac at age 14. Prozac makes teens suicidal. When she went to high school her “friends” made fun of her, humiliated her, and excluded her from events that most of the girls in her grade participated in. They did this maliciously. In fact they interviewed her so-called best friend, Sam Boardman, who was nothing but a malicious mean girl. Michelle eventually became a cutter. All of this was mentioned as an afterthought at the end of the documentary when it should have been mentioned early on, but the producer and director were too busy making Michelle the fall guy for this dysfunctional relationship. That Michelle’s parents seemed oblivious to all this is truly sad.
During the trial, the prosecution intentionally misled the reporters (and everyone else) into believing that Michelle hated Conrad. She didn’t. She loved him. But theirs was a dysfunctional relationship in which they often hurt each other with words. The prosecutors withheld evidence that painted Michelle in a better light and Conrad in a worse light because they wanted a conviction.
For 1 1/2 years, Michelle tried talking Conrad out of killing himself. Then he got meaner to her in his texts and she finally told him to do it. Those were the texts that the prosecution released to the press, not the ones where she tried to stop him.
5 out of 10 stars. What I’ve summarized is really all you need to know about this case. His parents made mistakes. Her parents made mistakes. Was Michelle to blame? No. She’s just as much a victim as Conrad.