Directed by: James Webber
Distributed by: Amazon Prime Video
Written by Jeff Sparks
Starring Sophie Kennedy Clark, Emily Haigh, and Kate Dickie, “Sorority” is the debut feature by director James Webber who adapted the film from his short called “Soror” which starred Dickie and two other actresses who were not brought back for the feature. I previously had seen Sophie Kennedy Clark play B in Lars Von Triers’ masterpiece “Nymphomaniac” and her role in that made me wonder what she could do in a leading role. Here we see her with that opportunity under the direction of Webber as she plays Harriet, a woman who is longing to have a fresh start after her relationship fell apart due to suffering a miscarriage at the same time her younger sister Sarah (Haigh) is moving away. Neither of these two actors is interesting in their roles. They have the talent to act but don’t have much charisma. Luckily for the film, Kate Dickie has all that and more. Through the first act, I found myself drowning in apathy for these two characters until Dickie showed up thirty-three minutes in, acting as a life preserver.
In the film, she plays the sister’s estranged mother who has struggled with addiction in the past and wishes to reconnect with her daughters. Right away she makes her presence felt, having the most interesting character traits out of the three. Her conflict of regretting her past and feeling lost in her current life felt much more authentic than the other two. Harriet’s storyline gets the most screen time but was also the least elaborated on. Her struggle never went deeper than the surface level and never went further what you would expect. The same can be said for Sarah’s struggle in the story, which is slightly more interesting as it focuses on her broken relationship with her mother who is interested in reconnecting at this crossroads in her life similar to her mother.
In the short film “Soror” these themes and struggles of these characters are complimented well by dreamlike camera work with wide shots and an editing style that uses imagery to show the characters deeper emotions throughout their interactions. Another advantage that was not carried over from the short was the two main actresses who played the sisters, Rosie Day and Sian Breckin who came across as less generic than the two leads in the feature. I’m not sure why most of the interesting ideas Webber explored in “Soror” are swapped out for gimmicky ones like day cards, a generic score, inconsistent cinematography, and narration that is only used twice, but somehow this feature-length film feels like it has less content than the short film it is based on.