32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide


A few days before December 12, 2008, my sister Ruth Litoff decorated her Manhattan loft like a beautiful stage set with fifteen suicide notes surrounding her and specially selected gifts for her closest friends. Multiple bowls of cat food were left in case it took us awhile to find her and every one of her hundreds of markers was in rainbow order. The police officer whispered,  “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The film begins on that day I found Ruth dead and traces over her fascinating life and work — punctuated by incredible highs and lows and secrets and lies. It follows my journey as I examine her rich body of artwork, interview friends and family, and read her journals for the very first time. She excelled at everything she did.  She was my hero. Why would she want to die?

Like a detective, I’m trying to piece it all together. But making the film has forced me to face difficult truths and caused me to drink again after 16 years of sobriety. The film raises so many questions.  Must I admit that my sister and I are not so different?  Will the process set me free or destroy me?  

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