Eureka! – dealing with depression with comedy and skilful acting

Laura Moss, “Eureka!” (2019)

I confess, I saw this comedy sci-fi fantasy short because Karen Gillan, star of Doctor Who and of various films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film franchise, plays Chloe, a lazy and unmotivated worker bee who, through her dreams, has to be kicked into action by a mystery alien energy force. The alien takes the form of Jon (Jon Bass) who looks like your typical generic office pen-pusher – he even has his own desk and desk paraphernalia. Jon tells Chloe that his job is to seed original ideas into humans through their dreams and he’s been tasked with pushing Chloe along because the idea he seeded into her head two years ago hasn’t been acted on.

Daft though the idea is, Chloe decides to push on with it and encounters much opposition from her sister Hailey’s Alcoholics Anonymous support group. Nevertheless, Chloe completes her project with help from work colleague Glenn (Karan Soni) and learns a valuable lesson: it’s not so much the goal that’s important, it’s the journey and what one learns and experiences along that journey that is important.

Given Gillan’s career trajectory so far, one can understand why she might have been drawn to this little film project: it illustrates that the hardest part of the journey, more often than not, is the first step taken and from there, opportunities and new experiences open up, and resources and help arrive in their own timely fashion. Another possible reason is that the film explores why Chloe is so lazy and uninspired in the first place, that aliens from another world visit her in her dreams: she lives and works in a depressive environment, and is surrounded by other equally depressed people who express negative opinions of the idea seeded into her head. Once she completes her project though, it has a transforming effect on the people around her.

Though the film does become a bit long and saggy about halfway through, and the silly slapstick moments are unnecessary, Gillan’s energetic acting gives it focus and carries its themes (which are quite serious: they deal with depression and mental illness, setting goals and working to fulfil them, and enjoying what adventures and opportunities open up along the way) right to the end. Gillan can rightly be proud of carrying this film with enthusiasm and aplomb.