Ellie and Abbie (and Ellie’s Dead Aunt)
Monica Zanetti’s Ellie and Abbie (and Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is upbeat and puts its indie soundtrack to good use, setting a quirky tempo of events that reflects protagonist Ellie’s personality. It starts off on shaky footing with stiff acting and a dry script, but it quickly picks itself up, getting directly to the meat of the plot. From here, the enjoyment factor is maximised. Zanetti tackles the generational divide on the subject of sexuality, and shows the range of experiences coming out.
The humour is a little too forced, and would fall flat often, if it were not for the sound keeping it afloat. The script doesn’t help, nor does the delivery, with performances not quite hitting the mark. It feels a lot like watching a comedy show without the laughter track: awkward and off-kilter. That being said, the banter between Ellie and Abbie is quite fun to watch; Sophie Hawkshaw (as Ellie) and Zoe Terakes (as Abbie) have incredible chemistry that sparks life into the dull moments. Outside of these interactions with Terakes, Hawkshaw is the weaker link, especially in emotional spaces – but this is where the rest of the cast shine, helping her carry the scenes. Terakes and Marta Dusseldorp (as Erica, Ellie’s mother), in particular, do well in these instances.
In general, Ellie and Abbie (and Ellie’s Dead Aunt) follows the pattern of most modern romcoms, using indie music for its soundtrack to create a certain atmosphere that delivers on all emotional fronts – from sadness, to feel-good moments. There are times when the music cuts in too suddenly, or changes out of pace, which throws some scenes offtrack. The camerawork, on the other hand, is simple (mostly static, with short shots edited together and clever use of split-screen to add a little more to the storytelling), and the filter is well-balanced and neutral
There’s something so uplifting about the film. Though it’s anxiety-inducing in parts (not always because of the tension, but because of the little moments of carelessness and slips of the tongue), it really takes the viewer back to teenage feelings of love, crushes and embarrassment. But for each conflict created, and the hurdles and struggles presented, there is an inspiring moment of overcoming.
Ellie and Abbie (and Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is released nationwide on 11th June 2021.
Watch the trailer for Ellie and Abbie (and Ellie’s Dead Aunt) here: