Two-part documentary “I Love You, Now Die,” that premiered at this year’s 2019 South by Southwest Film Festival, takes a deeper look at the texting suicide case that made national headlines.
In July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy committed suicide in his car at a parking lot in Fairhaven, Mass. Police soon discovered a series of alarming text messages from his girlfriend, 17-year-old Michelle Carter, that seemed to encourage him to kill himself. This discovery sparked sensational headlines nationwide, leading to a trial that raised difficult questions about technology, social media and mental health, while asking if one person can be held responsible for the suicide of another.
Directed by Erin Lee Carr (HBO’s “At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal” and “Mommy Dead and Dearest”), part one of I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE debuts Tuesday, July 9 (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT), followed by part two the following night, Wednesday, July 10 (8:00-9:15 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
I Love You, Now Die kicks off HBO’s trilogy of two-part crime documentaries on successive Tuesday and Wednesday nights this July. “Behind Closed Doors” debuts the following Tuesday and Wednesday, July 16 and 17, followed by Liz Garbus’ “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” concluding the series July 23 and 24.
In 2012, teens Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy fell in love. They lived hours apart and met in person no more than five times, but exchanged thousands of texts over a two-year period. After Roy was found dead in his car in July 2014, what appeared to be a standard case of suicide by carbon-monoxide intoxication took a shocking turn when investigators discovered alarming text messages on his phone. Carter, 17 at the time, had urged Roy to kill himself, even after he had second thoughts and removed himself from his car.
I Love You, Now Die explores the complicated relationship between Carter and Roy, drawing on some of the thousands of texts they exchanged over two years to chronicle their courtship and its tragic consequences. Featuring unprecedented access to the families, friends and communities that were forever changed by this unusual case, the documentary explores the changing nature of the justice system today, following a story that has wider implications for society at large, both online and in real life. The film presents a well-rounded look at a bizarre tale that was a deadly convergence of mental illness, loneliness, pop culture and technology.
In July 2017, Michelle Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Roy. In Aug. 2017, she was found guilty and began her 15-month prison sentence in Feb. 2019, following a failed appeal.
I Love You, Now Die includes footage from Michelle Carter’s trial, where the filmmakers had the only camera allowed in court and supplied the pool camera for this historic case. It also features interviews with key individuals in the story, including: Conrad Roy’s immediate family; Joseph Cataldo, Michelle Carter’s defense attorney; Dr. Peter Breggin, an expert witness for the defense; police detectives; and journalists who covered the case extensively.