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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Francesca

It’s What’s On The Inside - Official Worldwide Debut!

Opening Statement: I hope to enlighten my readers on a short journey into my views! I plan to post every other Sunday for the most part, excluding any spur of the moment ideas I may have or a busy schedule which may restrict me from posting that week. Thank you and enjoy!

What happens when an agoraphobic life coach begins to try new things, embrace uncertainty, and step back out into the world after boxing herself indoors, in an effort of self-preservation?…

Hello folks & filmmakers! It has been a while since I have had some time to sit down and write, but I am excited to jump back into blogging! And what a better way to kick things off by reviewing Eddie Vigil V first feature film, It’s What’s On The Inside- Official debut set for Friday April 2nd!

Click here to view trailer and check below for social media information!

You may all remember Eddie as the first ever artist to be featured on my Artist Spotlight Corner. I met Eddie over a year ago through social media where I first saw his Kickstarter campaign for It’s What’s On The Inside. The campaign stood out to me as I really admired the constructive and honest way the cast and crew went about discussing mental health. This was about a week or so before filming began. Some time later, Eddie reached out and asked if I wanted to see one of the earlier cuts of the film and I of course said YES! I was so honored to get this inside-look into It’s What’s On The Inside. From there on, we have remained in contact and I am grateful to know him and see his work, he is truly inspiring!

Now this brings us to today, where just a few days ago I had the privilege of watching the final version of It’s What’s On The Inside, which will be released worldwide this week. Having seen both an early cut and the finished product, I am eager to dive into reviewing the story, observing the creative choices and analyzing the thorough process that goes into completing a film— without spoiling too much, of course!

The release and content of It’s What’s On The Inside could not be more eerily perfect. After the year of isolation we just had and an understandable decline in mental health due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, one can deeply relate to what main character Rachel (played by the talented Michelle Hinsberg) is going through. Rachel is a life coach who suffers from agoraphobia, therefore her sessions take place over video chat—COVID deja-vu am I right? (Agoraphobia - “Fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment.” - Google Search/Mayo Clinic). Whether you suffer from agoraphobia, know someone who does, or have very little knowledge on the subject, this film will resonate with all of us, as COVID-19 forced us into our homes and away from society. Personally, coming out of quarantine has been particularly difficult, as I have found my social skills lacking the “oomph” that they once had before this terrible virus took over. It’s What’s On The Inside stands to further break the stigma surrounding mental health struggles, and to create a nurturing environment for compassion, empathy, and kindness to blossom. The first time I watched this film, the story had already connected to my own experiences with my mental health, but now in 2021, I have watched it in an entirely new light and I am excited for you all to experience the same. Eddie also explained that quarantine allowed for prime time to edit, and I can only imagine how influential the state of the world was in impacting the story he was already telling. This time was devastating for millions of people worldwide, but it also opened the door for many personal discoveries, as people were forced to literally and metaphorically move inward and reevaluate themselves and life around them, just as Rachel does throughout the entire film. This is one thing I particularly love about the film. So much of what anxiety is, can never be seen from the outside world, but only felt. And therefore throughout the film, there is so little that is verbally described, but rather felt, as we watch Rachel go through so much, when the world around her actually seems quite calm and comforting. It’s What’s On The Inside gives us viewers an honest and vulnerable look at mental health and validates our suffering in a way that I have yet to see on screen.

In a world where mental health is becoming more and more talked about and valued, a film like It’s What’s On The Inside paves the way for the conversation to become even louder. Eddie shows us that mental health recovery/coping isn’t linear, as we watch Rachel branch out, and then hurriedly retreat back to her apartment many times. As she pushes and her agoraphobia pushes back, she never fails to try again and this is an important message for those suffering with anything in life. There was no one true gigantic event that changed Rachel. It was a combination of her own will power, a series of events and her incredible support team that helped her get through the inevitable discomfort that snowballed once her biggest client no longer needed her. This then forces Rachel to begin to break down her walls, metaphorically and literally. This is a real-life representation of healing. I remember from my own struggles with mental health, I was always waiting for some epiphany, some world-altering realization. In actuality, the only way I could ever move forward and heal was by taking life one day at a time.

The support system for which Eddie wrote into It’s What’s On The Inside represented a phenomenal example of what a person dealing with such struggles needs. Rachel’s main crew involves charming delivery man Brady (played by Michael G. Gabel), her mother-like landlord Maria (played by Maria Russell), and two of her life-coaching clients Susan (played by Hana Wu) and Gary (played by George Triplett). All of which share a few common denominators- they are patient, kind, and truly care for Rachel’s wellbeing. In sum, they respect her and what she is going through, and that is all a person can ask for when dealing with something that often feels much bigger than themselves. We as humans can be hard enough on ourselves when we aren’t living the way we would like to. We simply don’t need that kind of energy from other people.

Brady plays a big character in this film, as Rachel and him slowly become each other’s love interests. He is a kind and gentle soul, and very accepting of Rachel just the way she is. In this regard, he is part of a vital support system, but not the integral catalyst of Rachel’s self-growth…which is WONDERFUL. The film subconsciously, yet excellently, echoes the idea that self-growth must happen within, but also does not neglect the value of having someone there to be exactly what you need when you need them. Rachel hints to this so swimmingly when she tells one of her clients “I love you, but it doesn’t matter, if you don’t love yourself.” That’s one of the aspects I admire about this film. The romantic side of this story is not some epic unrealistic fantasy, it’s down to earth and it’s real. And to be completely honest, has the tracings of what post-pandemic dating may be like- hesitation, some slight awkwardness, and ultimately filled with kindness and an equal appreciation to simply be in each other’s presence.

One of the biggest differences between the early edit and the final of It’s What’s On The Inside is the color and score. As many filmmakers know, color is often one of the last layers of the edit, and can usually make the film feel more cinematic, as well as give an attitude and tone to specific scenes. The main color choices become present when we travel inside and outside Rachel’s apartment. The inside of Rachel’s home is dimly lit and extremely comfortable, with little to no light from the outside world. When we step outside, it’s harsh and blinding, the bright sun is somehow slightly less perfect than the warm lights strung about Rachel’s apartment. This color split is also represented on the cover art for the film (below this paragraph) where we see Rachel consumed by gray on the inside of her apartment, and Brady standing in a more golden light on the outside. I am going to go deeply symbolic here with this cover art for a moment, so bear with me. In the film itself, I felt as if the inside was physically much warmer toned and the outside was cooler in color, even with the bright sun. These colors juxtapose with the reality of each environment, as inside may seem safe and warm, but Rachel is sheltered from the real world. Although the real world may seem uncomfortable at times, (hence the cooler color tones of each scene), it is actually much more fulfilling and real, which is why the cover art presents us with gray indoors, and gold outside. We must take the good with the bad to enjoy the full picture that is life.

The score, composed by Adam Galloway, established great emotion throughout the entire film. Some of the score had remained the same from the earlier edit to now, but there were new elements that really made the story pop. Toward the end of the film, there is one of my favorite scenes where Rachel walks through an open field and the music is so enchanting and all consuming with a lovely piano that plays throughout and into the next scene. It moved me and really allowed me to openly connect with how the character was feeling in that exact moment. I love the process of finding music for a scene and then later re-finding different music for the same scene. Music (or even purposeful lack thereof) is the life of the scene and exists to enhance the already excellent performances on screen. The same scene can have an entirely different aura depending on the musical selection, and I find that to be quite magical.

The final version of It’s What’s On The Inside that the world will see is a bit “punchier” than the earlier cut, as final cuts often are. It’s direct and emotionally moving, and I am so thankful to have been able to see it grow in that way. The past year as a senior film major has opened my eyes to many new elements that have only increased my appreciation for the entire process. It has been a superb experience to observe a bit of Eddie’s creative process through seeing both the earlier version and the one that will be released. I believe that this film will leave viewers with a greater understanding for those facing mental health struggles, as well as a deep appreciation for the strength it takes to overcome such things.

It’s What’s On The Inside will be viewable worldwide via Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNOW, and Cable VOD starting Friday April 2nd! Be sure to look out for more work by the talented Eddie Vigil V, as he has over 80+ short films already released, and is beginning production on his second feature film this May!

~ Francesca Reviews

Social Media:

Insta: @itswhatsontheinside_film

Facebook: It's What's on the Inside - Feature Film

Instagram: @eddievigilv

Twitter: @EddieVigilV

YouTube: Eddie Vigil V


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Disclaimer: All of my posts are based off of my own knowledge, opinion, and beliefs and this blog is only meant to be a platform to share those things with the world. I am always open to hear what you all have to say about the topics I write about, listening to many perspectives can only enhance my knowledge! Therefore, feel free to start a friendly conversation sharing your opinions! Thank you!

Photo Credits: (Final Picture) Eric McQuesten


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