Why is the film set in the 1980s?
It serves a dual purpose.
The 1980s setting is crucial to the story because medication as the therapeutic method of choice for mental illness reached its peak during this time period, and it is the overuse of medication that is the catalyst to Marguerite’s professional struggle, one of the central conflicts in the film. “Talk therapy” could not be portrayed as a controversial method of treatment in a film set in the present day because its benefits have now been recognized. Yet the '80s time period provides the opportunity to parallel the current increasing trend in the prescription of anti-depressant drugs in response to society’s desire for quick fixes. The film serves as a currently relevant cautionary tale on the effectiveness and disadvantages of ubiquitous “new generation” drugs.
Secondly, a 1980s setting allows Marguerite’s character to embody the superwoman ideal which dominated the decade; that is, the desire, expectation and assumption that women want do it all: be a perfect housekeeper, wife and mother, juggle a demanding career, and break the glass ceiling. Yet, this pressure on women is alive and well in the present-day, and acceptance of varying definitions of womanhood is a challenge for our society. This pressure plays an important role in building the dramatic tension between Marguerite and her husband.