The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is a 2018 film about a selfish writer who destroys the lives of everyone around him.
4/10 stars. Told out of sequence with everything revealed at the end, this was disappointing. I’d like my two hours back.
Sidney Hall is a high school student who aspires to be a famous writer. Then he meets Melody, the girl of his dreams who just happens to live across the street. But just as his life is beginning to blossom his best friend asks him a favor and the two of them dig up a videotape that his friend took when he was about 8 years old. It’s of his father raping a little girl. His friend goes on to tell him that he also rapes him and his sister and has since they were little. That’s why he videotaped his dad, who is a federal judge. What Sidney should have done is go with his friend straight to the police and news media to out the judge then sit with his friend through all the tragedy that would then unfold. But he doesn’t. Sidney’s selfish and vain. He thinks his date with Melody is more important and when he comes home, his mother has found the tape and destroys it thinking he’s buying kiddie porn. She’s so disgusted she hits him and he falls and hits his head. The brain damage from that blow will follow him the rest of his short life. In the morning when he tells his friend the tape has been destroyed, his friend kills himself. Sidney uses that tragedy as the basis of his first novel which becomes a bestseller.
Sidney and Melody move to New York City where Sidney’s adoring fans fawn all over him, including pretty young girls in all varieties. He begins cheating on Melody almost immediately after they are married and doesn’t stop until she gets pregnant and leaves him. Then in the second pivotal moment of his life, his latest lover shows up and tells Melody the graphic details of their sex life together until Melody leaves and gets trapped in an elevator without her inhaler. She and the baby die.
Sidney never writes another novel. He leaves everything behind and begins wandering across the country with nothing but his notebook, a dog he adopts, and a liquor bottle always on hand. By the time a fan finds him, he’s ruined his liver and his body is failing. Then Sidney tells him the inspiration for his novel, his best friend, the judge’s son. He dies and Melody’s spirit is there waiting for him.
4/10 stars. There are moments in this story that are told not as they should be, but as a selfish, narcissistic man would see them. Maybe that was the director’s intent, but it made for a nauseating film.