Margot lived a very normal life, heading to school and preparing for what would come after. She suddenly found herself the victim of a stalker who would stand outside of her house and yell terrible things about her. She called this person Dan, but they never really existed. Margot found out she was suffering from schizophrenia. It cost her the job she loved and left her with nothing. After 3 years of suffering, Margot was finally able to get her illness under control, but it’s something she’ll have to live with forever. Dan and Margot follows Margot almost 10 years after discovering she has schizophrenia and chronicles her struggle to get her life on track as well as dealing with her past.
Margot’s friend, Chloe Sosa-Sims, co-directs Dan and Margot with Jake Chirico, and does so for a very specific reason. When Margot said she wanted to tell her story, Sosa-Sims didn’t really want anybody else to do it. They’ve known each other since they were little kids, and there’s probably not a better person to help Margot tell her story.
If you know someone suffering from schizophrenia, the film is going to be an even bigger emotional roller coaster than for others. Hearing Margot explain her disease in her own words is frustrating, scary, and heartbreaking. Even after being diagnosed, Margot had trouble really grasping that these things were only happening in her mind. It’s the one part of your body that you feel like you can rely on, so to have it creating voices that aren’t there is a disorienting experience.
The documentary was shot years after Margot had been diagnosed, but there are still moments where she may or may not be suffering from the illness. She talks about getting upsetting phone calls where it sounds like a group of people are talking negatively about her. This sounds a lot like her original problems with the person she called Dan. We don’t hear these calls, but it makes a very strong point. Whether the calls are real or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that Margot’s friends and family are there to support her and make sure she’s doing everything she can to maintain a grasp on her illness.
This is the one fault of Dan and Margot. It takes almost an hour before viewers really understand what Margot is doing to deal with her illness. She’s an instantly likeable person, so you are quickly worried for her well-being. Not being fully aware of what Margot is doing to deal with her illness kind of makes you want to shout at the screen. Of course, we do learn what she’s doing, and it is obviously helping. It’s just not completely clear from the start, which can be a bit disconcerting.