Novelist Amy Koppelman doesn’t do light, poolside reading. In her books “I Smile Back” (2008), made into a film starring Sarah Silverman, and “Hesitation Wounds” (2015), she grapples with such themes as self-destructive addiction, violent death and mental illness. Making her directorial debut with an adaptation of her 2003 novel “A Mouthful of Air” — loosely inspired by her own experiences with postpartum depression — Koppelman tells the story of children’s picture-book author and illustrator Julie Davis (Amanda Seyfried), a new mother who, as the film opens, is recovering from a suicide attempt. With her deer-in-the-headlights eyes, Seyfried is well cast, although depression is notoriously difficult to render on screen, and there are many scenes of Julie simply starring into what presumably is the abyss. Finn Wittrock is serviceable as Julie’s husband — doting, yet increasingly alarmed when, after getting pregnant a second time, Julie decides to stop taking her antidepressants. Not much happens here, in a story that hops between visits with Julie’s shrink (Paul Giamatti) in the 1990s, when the main action is set, the challenges of motherhood and flashbacks to Julie’s childhood, when her struggles with depression began. The story will probably resonate best with anyone who has dealt with a mood disorder, but it’s a tale of gloom and doom, heading straight for an outcome that is still a shocking downer, in a film that Koppelman wields like a warning — or weapon — urging viewers, in an on-screen postscript, to get help before it’s too late. R. Available on demand. Contains some strong language. 105 minutes.

— Michael O'Sullivan

Also streaming

Bruce Willis stars in “American Siege,” an action thriller about a sheriff of a small Georgia town who becomes caught up in a hostage situation involving his community’s wealthy residents and their dark secrets. According to Flickering Myth, “Like most movies involving Bruce Willis so far this decade, advertising him in a starring role is disingenuous, as here his screen time mostly amounts to standing out in an open field of grass making casual conversation with his partner Kyle Rutledge (Trevor Gretzky, son of hockey great Wayne Gretzky) treating a hostage situation with as little urgency as someone packing grocery store bags.” R. Available on demand. Contains violence, coarse language throughout and some drug use. 90 minutes.

In the violent home-invasion thriller “The Commando,” Mickey Rourke — “looking more melted than usual,” according to the Guardian — plays a newly released criminal who terrorizes a DEA agent’s family. The Guardian writes: “Conspiracy-minded viewers might wonder if some of these films aren’t subsidized by pro-gun lobbyists as a way to drum fear into the audience and maintain support for the right to keep huge home arsenals to ward against a danger with a vanishingly small probability in the real world.” R. Available on demand. Contains strong violence, coarse language throughout and some drug use.
93 minutes.