To dramatize the action in Prescription Happiness I feel a non-conventional approach to filmmaking is required. The story is told with a near absence of dialogue, relying primarily on the visual and musical aspects of the film. Instead of the characters talking about their emotions, we see them experiencing them on the screen. This produces a more direct connection with the audience since they don’t have to think about what the characters are saying. It also creates a message that is open for the audience to interpret on their own terms, and allows any viewer from around the world to engage the story, since it deals with some of our most basic emotions: fear, anxiety, confusion, and love.
My goal is to make a film that creates questions in the mind of the audience. I think it’s rather naive to think that a film itself can change anyone, but what it can do is help the audience ask questions about their own lives and the world around them. To do this I want to take them to a place that is like nothing they’ve ever experienced, yet contains familiar elements from their own reality. Making the story relatable is essential. By going on this journey with Angela, we see the world through an entirely different pair of eyes, yet are able to see the parallels with our own society. As she experiences various peer pressures, we think about how we would act in similar situations. Then with her final decision, we begin to wonder which side we are on, and more importantly, who is really in control of the life we live.
– Ryan Strandjord