The writing and directing partnership of Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes prove that they are a force to sit up and pay attention to in their sophomore feature Sissy. On face value this film could appear as a typical trip down a dark past where old haunts rise to the surface but there’s something deeper at play here that spells out a disturbing and topical story. Psychological trauma can fester when not dealt with or addressed in a way that can help heal those involved. Without it, carnage can ensue, which is exactly what happens here.
Sissy (Aisha Dee) is a social influencer, projecting a world of calm and serenity out into the social cyber world. A life appears to be bliss but it soon becomes evident that she has a temporary band aid over her to propel any fears or anxieties that she has and it’s about to get wrenched off when she bumps into her former school BFF, Emma (played by Barlow). We soon learn that Emma is about to get married and old feelings are explored once more when Sissy is asked to join her for a night out, swiftly followed by a weekend away with friends to celebrate Emma’s upcoming nuptials. Sissy is all too eager to please, hoping that she can rekindle their friendship and the connection they once had. That is until Alex (Emily De Margheriti) enters the scene once again. The girl who took away that friendship and sparked an inner rage in Sissy with drastic consequences. Can Sissy contain these feelings or will it all bubble over and the fury take control.
Essentially what Barlow and Senes have tapped into here is the psychological upheaval that is brought about through social trauma. This tale has humour and heartache abound as we watch the slow disintegration of strength and positivity as it crumbles in the wake of old scars. We can never really bury our emotions, good or ill without some kind of ramification. Sissy is the extreme example of what can occur when we don’t pay attention to the negative aspects of our life and face up to them. With solid performances and believable characters stretched to their most extreme personifications, there’s delight to be found amongst the carnage and mayhem.
- Saul Muerte