Dr. Death takes the form of an attractive young woman in Honey (Miele in Italian), an impressively mature directing debut from Italian actress Valeria Golino, who crafts an often engrossing character study around an assisted suicide activist.

Honey is the code name for Irene, a fiercely free­-spirited woman in the shadowy business of assisted suicide. Portrayed by Jasmine Trinca, an athletic gamin with adorably crooked teeth, Irene is connected to a loose network of contacts who direct her to terminally ill clients. They pay her handsomely in cash for what she views as ethically high minded missions of mercy to end their suffering. Once a month, she flies from Italy to Mexico, via Los Angeles, to purchase over­-the­-counter barbiturates used by veterinarians.

Honey never evolves into a thudding, issue­ oriented debate about the right and wrong of euthanasia. Although Carlo’s world­ weariness touches on the kind of metaphysical malaise that has been a running theme in Italian movies since the 1960s, the film shies from directly addressing anguished existential questions. It is finally a story about the puncturing of one young, headstrong woman’s personal belief system.

96 minutes.