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Review: Suzie


A housewife’s daily routine is disrupted.


There is a subtle kind of grace in filmmaking that comes to the fore when filmmakers are allowed to tell their stories exactly the way they want to tell them. Such is the case for writer/director Jimmy Dean as he shares this quietly powerful story of family breakdown.


Working in tandem with the exceptionally talented BAFTA nominated actress Helen Behan, Dean gives us a slow burn story, moved forward almost entirely by Behan’s measured yet powerful performance. The plot points consist almost entirely of simple and everyday tasks and chores like cooking and shopping, giving nothing away outwardly that anything is wrong.


The implementation of pointed, but nevertheless subtle actions of Behan, judiciously sprinkled into key moments carries us through her internal emotional turmoil. Dean smartly invests in and guides Behan’s performance to such an extent that her first line of dialogue is not delivered until more than halfway through the film.


The art of storytelling through motion is displayed in full force throughout the film, as we watch Behan’s beleaguered housewife suffer through the five stages of grief, communicated solely through subdued body language.


The storytelling genius lies in how Dean layers the silent unease of Behan’s performance into a day slowly coming to its end. The light itself seems to act like a countdown, allowing the slowly encroaching darkness to gradually envelope our protagonist as the bombshell at the centre of the story is finally allowed to go off.


Ultimately, this is a film whose power lies in its use of normality. Taking such a familiar setting and character type and using its slow unravelling to reinforce just how much comfort we take in these simple and everyday facets of life is an unpredictable and gut-churningly powerful way to elicit emotions that we can all relate to. This is underpinned by the understated but no less masterful cinematography of Anna Macdonald, who uses natural light down to its dying embers to help tell the story of the fateful day unfolding in front of us.


This is the kind of drama that does not draw attention to itself, but instead allows its own inherent power to reveal itself on its own terms. The level of craft and emotional awareness required to tell this story the way that Dean opts to tell it is very impressive and by the time we hit the end credits, we finally understand, not only the unfolding plot, but the nuances of the changing faces that our families can wear and crucially, how we adapt and support each other through those changes.


This film is sensitive, well-crafted, packs an emotional punch and comes highly recommended.


Studio: Slick Films | Year: 2023 | Genre: Drama | Duration: 10 Mins | Suitability: General



Director: Jimmy Dean | Producers: Ashley Horne, Sophie Stacey | Writer: Jimmy Dean

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