By: Amanda Guarragi
It’s always simple to assess our own lives and how we are personally feeling. We can overthink every single aspect of our lives and anxiously wonder how people perceive us. The one thing we really can’t read into or even understand is how someone else is feeling. They can be your closest friend or even your significant other, yet some things will be kept hidden. That is the worry that comes with being that close to someone; what if they close themselves off so they don’t disappoint you? In Kelly Walker’s directorial feature debut My Fiona, she explores grief, mental health and the human connection in a very honest way.
In the wake of an unexpected suicide, Jane (Jeanette Maus) is devastated by the loss of her best friend Fiona (Sara Amini), and finds purpose in helping Fiona’s widow Gemma (Corbin Reid) care for their seven-year-old son Bailey (Elohim Nycalove). While Jane’s carefree nature compliments Bailey’s youthful imagination, Gemma throws herself into work, unwilling to let anyone sense the cracks in her facade. Walker shows different ways of coping with death and how children’s behaviour can change because they do not know how to process grief yet.
The most important aspect of My Fiona is the connection between best friends and significant others. Jane openly loved Fiona with everything she had and Gemma was very much in love with her wife. Their relationship differed but there was so much love that Fiona received. When that one person who brings so much light and love into your life is gone, whom do you turn to? In this case Jane and Gemma find solace in each other but things don’t run smoothly. We see the emotional and physical connection between the two of them, but the spiritual memory of Fiona hinders their connection.
Kelly Walker showed the human connection through grief in all its complexities. How does one even begin to process a death like this? Jane and Gemma help each other with their grief but because they latch onto the last piece of Fiona they have left, it’s difficult for them to move on. There is so much growth with each character by the end of this film that you will also feel their progress in how they healed. It is an incredibly honest and heartfelt exploration of love and mental health, which is something we need more of today.