Now on HBO: I Love You, Now Die; a groundbreaking, true-crime, two-part documentary about an unprecedented manslaughter case — killing via text message. One part cyberbullying, one part Romeo and Juliet tragedy, the case was both shocking for the public and revolutionary for the Massachusetts courts.
Filmmaker Erin Lee Carr pulls back the curtain on the mind of Michelle Carter, the teenager accused of driving her boyfriend, 18-year-old Conrad Roy, to commit suicide solely through the phone. Carr told Inside Edition she hopes the two-part documentary will challenge viewers to decide for themselves the implications of the case — “Can you text someone into killing themselves, and can you be held liable? Yes, it’s immoral, yes it’s illegal, but there’s a lot more to the story.”
Carr is interested in the layers of Michelle Carter’s unique situation, which on the surface may look like cold-hearted manipulation. But, Carr told The Guardian, she believes the case has more to say about “free speech, mental health, girlhood, boyhood… [and] how we view criminal cases involving women through a set of archetypes.” According to Carr, the case can be explored through many different angles, and that’s what she aims to do.
“I think it was a very clear and simple narrative that Michelle Carter is a beautiful, privileged white girl who killed a young man to become popular,” Carr explained to Fox News. “It’s something that we easily attach to as a society… [that] teenage girls are coercive… but as we examined the case and filmed the trial, that just wasn’t true.”
Carr looks to deconstruct the popular narrative of the case by diving into the mental health of both Roy and Carter. The duo met in 2012 while on vacation in Florida. They continued texting for over two years upon returning home to New England. During that time, they exchanged thousands of messages, but only met in person five times. Their relationship intensified as Roy began revealing suicidal thoughts — and Carter encouraged them.
In July 2014, Roy was found dead in his car due to what appeared to be a clear case of suicide by carbon-monoxide intoxication. When investigators searched his phone, they discovered Carter, then only 17, had encouraged, even urged, Roy to take his own life.
I Love You, Now Die dives into Carter and Roy’s complicated relationship and the unusual court case that made national headlines. The documentary features exclusive interviews with Roy’s immediate family, Carter’s defense attorney, detectives and associated journalists.
The documentary’s aim, through Carr’s direction, is truth and a well-rounded exploration of the tragic story. She sees
In Aug. 2017, Carter was found guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of Roy. Following a failed appeal, she began serving a 15-month prison term in Feb. 2019.
I Love You, Now Kill Yourself includes the only footage taken of the trial. It explores not just this specific case, but its implications for society at large in the digital age.
Part 1 of I Love You, Now Die aired on HBO yesterday, July 9. Part 2 releases today, July 10.