Programme Notes: Ellie And Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)

Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) programme notes by Lydia Honeybone (she/her/they/them), curator of Queer Classics screenings and GAMIS, a cinema regeneration project.

Description of image

I came out at 14 when I met my first girlfriend. I barrelled into my parents’ bedroom one Saturday morning and announced I had a girlfriend, no context, no nuance, no understanding of the gender and sexuality journey I would eventually embark upon. I was yet to formulate those thoughts, let alone find the language for them. I was a young girl and I had met someone of the same gender presentation and we were enjoying making out.

My parents, young, liberal arts professionals themselves, were cringingly unphased. Wasn’t my friend Lizzie’s older sister Rosie a lesbian? Maybe there was a local youth group I could join?

I was a teenager, into eyeliner, fishnets and making bootleg CDs to of obscure New Wave bands. I could not think of anything worse than a youth group.

Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is a coming out story told with irreverent and distinctly Australian humour. Much like my own awkwardly heartfelt coming out to achingly supportive parents this film has moments that will make you uncomfortable, not because of the earnest performances (from the mostly queer cast) but because being a teenager is cringe (!) whether you’re gay, straight, sitting somewhere on the spectrum or just figuring it out.

The film’s premise is typical of the teen rom-com but resists the tropes of the dominant American high school dramas we all know and love (or love to hate). Girl meets girl, girl tries to figure out how to ask girl to the End of Year Formal. It is like a queer retelling of a John Hughes classic, with as many embarrassing moments, a lot of teen angst, and arguments with well-meaning yet out-of-touch parental figures. Watching Ellie and Abbie as a queer person who grew up in the UK, made me forever grateful not to have had to attend a prom (or as this film reminds us, in Australia, it’s called a ‘formal’).

18 years since my own coming out, I sometimes feel the generation gap yawning, between my generation and my parents', between my peers and the next cohort of queers. It’s easy to get caught up in identity politics, and a ‘they’ve never had it so good’ mentality, as if Instagram and TikTok somehow make being a queer teen more bearable. Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) educates us on the activism of our queer forbears while acknowledging the real and everyday struggles facing queer people of all ages today.

This film is softly sympathetic, avoids being preachy and achieves a lot with modest resources. It’s uplifting without being patronising and educational with out aggrandizement. And it’s funny!

Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt) is our free youth screening for September -just one of the many great benefits of our free 15-25 Card membership. To find out more and sign up, click here.

All Monday to Friday shows before 5pm have capacity capped at 50% (unless otherwise stated). All other screenings have full unlimited seating capacity (unless otherwise stated).

banknote calendar-02 calendar close down-chevron facebook filter google-plus left-arrow-02 mail play-icon right-arrow search shopping-basket small-play-icon tick twitter up-arrow