“MY FIONA”— A Tale of Grief and Love


A Tale of Grief and Love

Amos Lassen

After her best friend commits suicide very suddenly, Jane has a hard time finding meaning in anything.  She agrees to babysit Fiona’s son while her wife is at work during the day.  This brings about an intimate relationship between the two women that could either help to heal them both or bring up old wounds that aren’t fully healed as well as create new ones.

This film is a close examination at the effects that grief can have on people.  At the beginning we see how awkward Jane is at the funeral, and that is such a relatable scene— funerals are awful events, no one knows what to say or how to act, and this film captures that amazingly.  It also has a great depiction of grief.  Everyone suffers grief differently and recovers from it differently.  Jane searches for answers.  She wants to know why it happened, and if there was something she could have done to prevent it. Fiona’s wife Gemma (Corbin Reid), throws herself back into work and tries to keep herself busy.

 The two women battle their way through grief.  Their relationship might  have been a terrible idea, but it was what they both needed at the time. Jeanette Maus is a powerhouse as Jane. She plays her with great emotion and we empathize with her. We feel her sense of loss in everything she does as well as her sense of confusion when she is explores the possibility that she might be a lesbian.  She just wants someone to tell her if that is normal or not and of course, no one has the answer to that.  Sexuality can’t be explained. labelled or diagnosed.

The story does almost solely focus on Jane and Gemma, and therefore there is no real focus on Fiona and the cause or reason for her suicide.  I wanted to know why she took her life but perhaps we don’t know because sometimes, when someone does this, the people left behind don’t know why it happened and have to find a way to move on with this gaping question staying with them.  I wanted more about Fiona’s story and how she arrived at the point that she did.

Director Kelly Walker frames the opening scene so that viewers realize that Jane’s life is about to be turned upside down before Jane realizes it herself. A painful emotional connection with A difficult protagonist is established before we even see the title of the film.

“My Fiona” struggles grapples with the fallout of suicide and the challenges of carving out new lives and loves in the shadow of loss. To complicate and confuse matters further for Jane, she cannot tell if the feelings she develops for Gemma are purely a result of their shared loss or a new revelation about her sexuality. The situation grows messy, but the direction keeps the situations believable through the use of tonal whiplash and darkest humor to show Jane’s inner state. Hers is a confident directorial voice, and her next feature should be eagerly anticipated.

The film looks at what it means to be okay when it is healthier and more honest to not be okay as it looks at the ugly and uncomfortable ways through mourning and self-discovery. We face death directly. Walker doesn’t beat around the bush— she takes on difficult ideas with confidence aided by the powerful performance by Maus. There is sense of realism despite the extremity of the plot and we sympathize with Jane even with her flaws.

The loss, anger and sadness that comes with being left behind is not an easy journey to navigate; feelings are confusing, especially since Jane has no ambitions or friends of her own to depend upon.

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