Set in 1979, Netflix’s ‘God’s Crooked Lines’ is a Spanish psychological mystery film directed by Oriol Paulo. Originally titled ‘Los renglones torcidos de Dios,’ the movie revolves around a mental asylum where a private investigator tries to solve a case. Alice Gould pretends to be mentally unstable and admits herself to the Our Lady of Foundation hospital. At the asylum, she tries to find out if one of the former patients was murdered or if he truly killed himself.
When Alice enters the institution, she discovers strange things that increase her suspicion. As the truth unravels, Alice realizes she’s at the center of a dark conspiracy. The film’s various elements seem realistic and immerse the audience in the movie. The performances are authentic and make us wonder if the movie is based on a true story or a book. Well, let us find out, shall we?
Is God’s Crooked Lines a True Story?
‘God’s Crooked Lines’ is not based on a true story; it is based on a book. Written by the trio Guillem Clua, Oriol Paulo, and Lara Sendim, the script is an adaptation of the 1979 novel ‘Los renglones torcidos de Dios,’ by Torcuato Luca de Tena. In an interview with eCartelera, Oriol Paulo said that he was excited when the film was offered to him. The writer-director reached out to the Mental Health Observatory of Catalonia to understand the various disorders in the source material. Despite knowing many scenes would not make the final cut, Paulo also hired coaches for the cast members.
The film depicts several mental conditions, making the asylum portrayal realistic. The film also provides a deeper understanding of how psychotherapy and diagnoses of mental condition work. Since the story is set in 1979, we also see how the doctors are influenced by figures such as Sigmund Freud. The doctors explain the patients’ conditions or diagnose them in various scenes, which makes the film fascinating. Furthermore, what truly intrigues the audience is how the characters with disorders interact with each other and how Alice Gould uses them to her advantage. Numerous twists and turns keep the audience hooked until the end.
In many ways, ‘God’s Crooked Lines’ reminds us of the Martin Scorsese film, ‘Shutter Island.’ The core premise and the characters’ motivations are comparable in numerous ways. For instance, Alice Gould and Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) enter an asylum to investigate an alleged crime. The hospital staff and the audience question both characters’ mental sanity. Besides these two, there are a few other common tropes between both stories. Interestingly even ‘Shutter Island’ is based on the eponymous novel by Dennis Lehane.
A crucial difference between ‘God’s Crooked Lines’ and ‘Shutter Island’ is the significance of both films. While the latter builds on conspiracy theories around mental institutions, the former focuses on mental health. The name ‘God’s Crooked Lines’ refers to people (God’s creations) who suffer from imperfections that form mental illness. Thus, to reiterate, ‘God’s Crooked Lines’ is an adaptation of the eponymous novel Torcuato Luca de Tena, which carries undertones of philosophy with a subtle touch of spirituality.