Sissy (2022)

Director: Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes
Writer: Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes
Cast: Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, Emily De Margheriti, Daniel Monks, Yerin Ha, Lucy Barrett
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2022

Cecilia (Aisha Dee) is a rather successful influencer in the realm of mental health and mindfulness. Behind the scenes her life is much messier, and a little lonely. By chance, she meets Emma (Hannah Barlow). They used to be best friends when they were kids, but fell out of touch. Emma is overjoyed to see Cecilia and invites her to her hen party that night – she is about to get married to Fran (Lucy Barrett). Cecilia doesn’t want to go at first, but is convinced and since they have a lot of fun that night, she agrees to join Emma and Fran on their bachelorette weekend at a friend’s cabin. Only it turns out that the cabin belongs to Alex (Emily De Margheriti), Cecilia’s childhood bully. There is a lot bad blood between them – and that blood is about to be spilled.

Sissy is a very dark and pretty gory comedy with a great protagonist (wonderfully played by Dee) that I had a lot of fun with.

The film poster showing Cecilia's (Aisha Dee) pink curls. At the very top we can see one of her eyes, and some blood spatter on her brow.

Sissy manages to keep us with Cecilia all the time, even when she starts making very bad decisions. Her hopefulness at the renewed contact with Emma, the way she falls into old patterns – patterns she has been working very hard to leave behind, and for a very good reason. But that knowledge disappears in the face of all the good memories she had with Emma. And then she suddenly has to desperately fight to not be a 12-year-old outcast again. Because you can’t pick and choose from your past, unfortunately.

Dee leads us through Cecilia’s journey with amazing sensibility, and still knows when it’s necessary to ham it all the way up. Cecilia’s pain is written in every cell of her body, and the way the happy veneer she crafted for herself slowly comes off in the course of the story, is really impressive, both from an acting as well as a writing and directing standpoint.

Cecilia (Aisha Dee) in her streaming corner.

But that may make Sissy sound a lot more serious than it actually is. This is a comedy, and its sense of humor is excellent. Dark and satirizing and executed with a lot energy, it’s the driving force of the film and I really enjoyed it immensely. Apart from the gore – I thought that it was unnecessarily overdone here. Not that I mind gore in general, but in this case, a little less would have been more.

It probably would have been enough if the film had been 90 minutes instead of 100, but it never really dragged – it was too energetic and funny for that. It was definitely one of my festival highlights.

Cecilia (Aisha Dee) sitting huddled on the floor, cell phone in hand.

Summarizing: a really good time.

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