Undone, an animated Amazon Prime dramedy starring Rosa Salazar as Alma, is a visually stunning depiction of trauma and mental illness from the creators of Bojack Horseman.
Alma is a biracial, deaf woman living in San Antonio. Growing up without hearing, she decides to get a cochlear implant at a young age. Alma seeks connections to her Mexican heritage and spiritual indigenous origins throughout the film, which organically touches on identity politics, mental health and disability.
After Alma nearly dies in a car accident, time loses its linearity. She begins to unlock parts of her mind that give clues to her father’s enigmatic death.
Alma starts to act strangely post-accident, and her family suspects a brain injury or schizophrenia — a disease that runs in her family. But to Alma, she is experiencing a warped perception of time and space.
“A kaleidoscopic existential crisis, Undone bends the rules of space, time, and rotoscoping to weave a beautifully surreal tapestry that is at once fantastical and utterly relatable.”
— Rotten Tomatoes
Created with rotoscope — a style of animation traced over live action film — Undone has a mildly trippy, ethereal quality underlined by authentic emotional expression. The blend of real acting and animation mirrors Alma’s blur between reality and delusion.
“Do you ever feel like you’re in a play? Except you’re the only one that knows it’s a play? And everyone is just playing the role they think they’re supposed to play, because that’s what you do? And you’re like, ‘Hey, this is just a play. We don’t have to do this.’ And maybe we shouldn’t.”
Does Alma have a brain injury from her accident? Is she mentally ill? Has she attained the power to alter reality? The show is intentionally ambiguous because life is often unclear.
The first season of Undone is a quick watch with only eight short 23-minute episodes. It’s available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Undone has been renewed for a second season, so we eagerly await the tactful visual storytelling to come.
Annie Simon is a social media coordinator and engagement editor based in Los Angeles, California. She received a B.S. in psychobiology with a minor in evolutionary medicine from the University of California, Los Angeles. She enjoys writing about chronic illness, food/nutrition and overall health and wellbeing.