Women in film was a hot topic in 2015, both behind and in front of the camera, and there’s no doubt that gender disparity remains a huge problem for the industry. This year has, however, seen a number of filmmakers create strong, memorable and diverse female characters, and I wrote the following piece in celebration of the best of them for the British Independent Film Awards ceremony brochure.
While the title may bring to mind flippant adolescent attachments, Miss You Already is, in fact, an astute study of adult female friendships, as seen through the intense prism of terminal illness. Transplanted American Jess (Drew Barrymore) and Londoner Milly (Toni Collette) have been friends since childhood, standing firm in the face of teenage traumas, university excess, marriages and kids until Milly is diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.
Young Irish writer/director Gerard Barrett follows up his 2013 debut Pilgrim Hill with the equally as gritty Glassland, a film which makes the absolute most of its two excellent leads to present a powerful study of the devastating personal battles being fought behind myriad ordinary doors. Here, Barrett addresses the same themes of isolation, despair and parental relationships as in his first film, but shifts his focus from the empty expanses of rural Ireland to the claustrophobic confines of the nondescript working class back streets of Dublin.