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#TIFF22 Review: Something You Said Last Night (Discovery)

September 10, 2022

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2022 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8th to 18th.

Something You Said Last Night, the evocative debut film from writer-director Luis De Filippis, follows an Italian-Canadian family on vacation in a beach town. Ren (Carmen Madonia) and her younger sister Siena (Paige Evans) are spending a few days at a cottage property with their mother (Ramona Milano) and father (Joe Parro), who barely says anything but conveys so much through his gestures. While their mother expects them all to spend family time together like they used to, Ren and Siena both very much want to do their own thing.

The nuance here is that Ren is a trans woman, and tentatively learning to navigate the sensibilities of the small town. But Something You Said Last Night refreshingly isn’t a story about transitioning or coming out; it’s simply a portrait of someone existing as a trans person. The film’s little details feel quietly and believably observed, like her mother’s flinch when she goes to a public washroom on her own, to the way her sister is able to casually flirt and the looks that she gets from men; as if questioning her and questioning themselves for feeling attraction.

The film is carried every step of the way by an internal performance from Madonia, who brings an understated quality to her portrayal that makes this captivating as a character study. De Filippis infuses the film with a laid-back, naturalistic quality that is also not devoid of some tension, be it from parental expectations around work or other locals. Somewhat plotless, though not formless, Something You Said Last Night works as a quietly simmering portrait of the queer experience. It’s a testament to what happens when trans filmmakers tell trans stories.

Public Screenings:

Saturday, September 10th – 12:30 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Tuesday, September 13th – 7:30 PM at Scotiabank 2

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