Luke Eve’s web series, High Life provides a highly visceral depiction of mental health issues and their impact if they remain unacknowledged and ignored. High school girl, Gen Barrett (rising star Odessa Young from The Daughter and Looking For Grace) is getting ready for her year 12 exams. She is an excellent student, sexually innocent and possesses an exquisite musical talent. On the outside, Gen seems like she has it all figured out. From the beginning however, cracks in her perfect facade begin to form as Gen is about to have her first bipolar disorder manic episode.
High Life comes on the heels of Luke Eve’s independent web series, Low Life, a black comedy about depression, signalling the personal nature of the material. The series is comprised of six ten minute episodes (The Ascent, The Rush, The Twist, The Pinnacle, The Fall, The Return), which works equally well as a singular one hour piece. The way it is split up into episodes, however, is striking. Rather than being solely time based, each episode is a distinct compartmentalised chapter representing a significant phase in the story. All end with a cliff hanger and the pause between watching them allows time to absorb and reflect on the content before moving on.
With Gen as our guide, the audience are taken on an all access tour to understanding her deepest feelings and innermost thoughts. Odessa Young triumphs in this role. Her performance is honest and natural, making Gen a loveable character who you come to care about and enjoy in a rather short amount of time. The series is distinctly Australian but also universally relatable. While it does delve into dark themes, at times it is also humorous and whimsical. High Life is definitely worth a watch.