Seven people, all grouped in a waiting room wait for their HIV results. As the day progresses, the anxiety and nervousness kick in and they become determined to get their results early.
A movie about seven people waiting for their HIV results is a hard sell, especially when most of the environment is in the waiting room. Sometimes, also known as Sila Samayangalil could have easily strayed into the unnecessary, with “out of place” jokes and unnecessary engagement between the characters. The movie requires viewers to suspend disbelief a little, however, the human condition is formidably accurate at important times. The Netflix film, set in India, understands the social environment with sensitive implications and provides salient messages to raise the awareness surrounding AIDS.
I always find waiting rooms at the doctors to be one of the most aggravating human experiences. Sometimes, in a veiled way, captures that moment where you are waiting for your name to be called; or in this case, number. The irritation can be felt from the outset, as all seven characters are getting nervy in the outlandishly long queue. Humans tend to make light of a bad situation in a social situation where no-one knows each other; each character was putting in a same-day application for an HIV test yet their pride forces them to magic up some story to why they are there. Sometimes sets up the atmosphere from the moment the characters are queuing, ensuring that the smallest moments feel magnified in a room full of people with their own priorities. There is a moment in particular when a baby starts crying in the queue, and you can feel the withheld angry tension with someone so keen to scream that I almost wanted to shout with them.
The eventual outcome is the lonely waiting room – the agonising wait of six hours to wait for their HIV results. One of the characters, who just so happens to be a pharmacist, understands the test process and has a hunch that the results are already available. Leading the group, he convinces each one of them to put a funding campaign together to bribe the receptionist to get the results early. My eyebrows raised slightly at this moment in the plot, because of the entire set-up which relies on humans not wanting to engage, however, this has to happen for the purpose of the story’s conclusion. The leading character is Bala Murugan (Ashok Selvan) who is the thoughtful ringleader of the entire scenario. Whilst everyone else tentatively copes by keeping quiet and remaining private, he decides to confide in the others who are also waiting. Realistically, at least one of them would tell them to stop encroaching on their private lives, especially when it comes to AIDS, however, the ending is so impactful that I had to forgive the lack of realism.
Bala drives the story in an almost empty waiting room. By doing so, you learn about the other characters, their background and why they think they may have contracted AIDS. Each scenario is different (and unfortunate) and serves perfectly justifiable reasons to why they may feel they have the disease. From the story, you understand the delicate situation people find themselves in and the emotional trauma it can cause. Sometimes creates an atmosphere that is unsettling, and you can sense the rollercoaster of the emotions of each character. Interestingly, most characters have believed they may have had AIDS for over a year, showing that they have allowed it to battle with their mind for a long time.
Ultimately, this film has been created to raise awareness and its message is loud and clear with such an atmospheric setting. The movie does not over dramatise but stays true to what could happen in a waiting room. You have to be patient with Netflix film Sometimes. It is not a movie that will jump out at you – the hard work is staying with it and allowing the characters to finally tell their story. Patience is rewarded in this movie, as the ending will not only make you feel ridiculously tense and worrisome, but it will stick in your mind for awhile.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.