BFI Flare Film Festival Review – My Fiona (2019)

Selected as part of the BFI Flare Film Festival 2020 (now available online here), My Fiona is a stunning directional debut from actress Kelly Walker. Included under the Hearts category of the festival, My Fiona intricately explores the cycle of grief and mourning through the eyes of a best friend. After the unexpected suicide of ambitious and optimistic Fiona, Jane is left alone and having to run their business solo. The only purpose she can find in life is to help look after Fiona’s son, Bailey, cared for by Fiona’s workaholic wife.

Bold yet nuanced, My Fiona is a compelling drama that faces death straight in the face. Walker doesn’t beat around the bush, tackling difficult ideas with confidence – mostly exuded from a strong-headed performance by Jeanette Maus. A sense of realism is achieved, despite the extremity of the plot, allowing audiences to sympathize with our troubled protagonist regardless of her flaws.

Though the film may sometimes dip into aimlessness, the lack of direction is fitting for a story about mourning. The loss, anger and sadness that comes with being left behind is not an easy journey to navigate; feelings are confusing, especially given that Jane has no ambitions or friends of her own to hold onto.

Walker playfully injects moments of humour and joy into her debut, providing a sense of comic relief among the emotional turmoil. Audiences are invited to reflect on their own actions and how it affects others – the same way Jane does when realising that she isn’t the only one who has lost somebody. Executed with elegance and humility, My Fiona definitely deserves checking out in celebration of LGBTQI+ cinema.