Britt Harris and Molly Muse’s co-directorial debut, Wrap Me In A Sheet is a beautifully intimate journey towards healing from long years of trauma. Two sisters, armed with little besides their shared trauma and love, set out to reach the end of their suffering and if luck allows, a secret treasure.
The film opens with a dream (or, more fittingly, nightmare) sequence. Young Taylor opens a music box, containing a captivating, evocative tune, only to have it cruelly shut by her mother—the nameless, faceless source of her trauma. The music box functions as a metaphor for this pain and trauma throughout the film.
In the present day, adult Taylor (Harris) can still hear the phantom music playing. The eggs on the stove burn before she realises it. Discovering her this way, Faye (Molly Muse) salvages the eggs and comforts her. In a most endearing manner, they make light of the situation (and the rest of their painfully dysfunctional lives) by engaging in derisive banter about their abusive mother—until it becomes too much for Taylor to process. There is something they must do that they are both dreading and the film successfully creates a sense of mystery and apprehension around it.
Languid landscapes and mesmerising Washington Coast imagery make for the next few minutes as the sisters enjoy a beautiful summer day together. Their emotional struggle is palpable as they nurture the tortured child within by enjoying the little pleasures of life: bike rides, minigolf and go-kart. They even sneak into a prohibited area to enjoy ice cream. We learn their mother died of a heart attack in front of them. There is no sense of loss—only muted anger and resentment.
In shocking contrast to the almost happy sequence of their trip, the car trunk opens to reveal a body, wrapped in a sheet. The soft and leisurely pace is replaced with a disjointed sense of time and emotion in this final leg of their journey. They are honouring their mother’s last wish- to be buried at sea. Besides years of trauma, a last note in the form of a treasure map is all that their mother left them—with precise directions on where to go and what they must find. The film curates an interesting premise: how far will you go to respect the last wish of the person who is the very cause of your damage and suffering?
They make their way to a forbidden zone. It makes for a bleak scene as they dig the grave. The chokehold that an abuser can have on you even years later—even when dead—is as compelling as it is draining.
The film’s climax comes when Taylor finds the treasure–a last gesture of emptiness from their mother. Faye, who had seemed more in control till then, comes undone. This time, Taylor is the one to console. Against the cold blue horizon, they are all they have.
Wrap Me in a Sheet understands trauma as a deep disconnection with oneself as well as the present. The narrative creates this effect through a plot that contains all the essential bits, but as if with chunks missing–as if the narrator(s) skipped time every now and then. The final shots, of cleansing, are as if they have finally found scope to return to their bodies and to their audience.
Wrap Me in a Sheet: A Compelling Drama That Seamlessly Blends Exuberance and Fragility