I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE: THE COMMONWEALTH VS. MICHELLE CARTER documents the events following the case of 18-year-old Conrad Roy’s suicide in July of 2014. Immediately following his death, a whirlwind trial took place once police discovered a series of texts between him and his then-girlfriend, 17-year-old Michelle Carter. In the texts, it seemed as if Carter had encouraged Roy to commit suicide. This specific case was unique, and regardless of what you think about the trial or who was at fault, it raises some very interesting questions, mostly ones that could only exist in the age of modern technology: Questions about social media, mental health, technology, and how the three played a part in the unfortunate end of a young life.
Upon starting the HBO-produced documentary, I immediately knew that this was going to be a rough one to get through. I recommend abstaining from watching if you are triggered by heavy material like this, depictions of suicide, or anything else involving this case. Since this is a recent case – having only happened a mere 5 years ago, I still remember the media circus that ensued. News headlines, web articles and everyone on social media seemed to be talking about the horrendous details involved and it was hard to ignore. This documentary makes it even harder to turn away.
In between interviews with Roy’s mother, father and other close relatives, we follow the case from the day Roy was found, all the way up to Carter’s trial and sentencing. In a series of interviews with the leading detectives, lawyers, and journalists covering the case, the story of how this unfolded begins to come together in what is ultimately a tragic and poignant documentary and study on mental health, adolescence, and how a person can be ultimately responsible for the end of another. You truly feel the family’s anger towards Carter and her actions and the sadness and anguish that still lingers after their son’s death.
Throughout the documentary, we are shown videos recorded by Roy, in which he comments on his social anxiety and his struggle with depression while we see interviews with family members discussing their visits to doctors, previous suicide attempts and his desire to get better. We also see some snippets of texts shared back and forth between Roy and Carter and we get an insight into the kind of relationship the two had. Conducted almost entirely through online interactions and text messages, which start out innocently enough, with some chitchat back and forth but then become more nefarious as time goes on and Roy shares his insecurities with Carter.
Throughout the trial, we take a deep dive into the study of criminal law and exactly what would equate involuntary manslaughter or the killing of a person by influence of another. It’s the question of psychological pressure vs. physically assisting someone in their death.
I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE: THE COMMONWEALTH VS. MICHELLE CARTER left me feeling saddened and gross, but it is a story that must be shared so that events like these never take place again. And so, that the death of Conrad Roy was not in vain.
Part one of I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE: THE COMMONWEALTH VS. MICHELLE CARTER airs Tuesday, July 9th at 8:00p.m. ET/PT with part two airing the following night, Wednesday, July 10th at 8:00p.m. ET/PT only on HBO. If you or anyone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Is here to help: 1-800-273-8255 or visit them at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org