Set in the early ’90s, 13-year-old Nina (Emma Fasano) moves into a small apartment building with her two parents and younger brother. As the family move in, it’s evident they have several issues in many areas. Some of these areas are quite evident, and others seem questionable, especially regarding Nina’s parents and their relationship.
But moving from the centre of Rome to its outskirts isn’t the only major change in Nina’s life. Soon Nina and her little brother are required to attend a new school, and fitting in on the first day doesn’t go so well. While visiting her new classroom, Nina meets Sirley (Manon Bresch), a South American student who desires to be the new Madonna and is passionate about dancing. Nina also learns that Sirley lives around the same apartment block as her.
But the first time Nina and Sirley meet, they disagree, leading to a fight on the school grounds. The two are then forced to have detention, which allows them to talk and get to know one another for the better. Soon an unlikely friendship occurs as the two share their deepest burdens, hurts and sufferings from both the past and present. As the two spend more time together, a stronger connection also begins to occur.
For those who are not aware, Sirley is best classed as a drama film. The film is partly autobiographical based on the director of this film, Elisa Amoruso, including aspects from her own teenage years. There are many themes and topics within this film, including friendship, family, pain, peer pressure, love, and the list goes on. To the director’s credit, a true highlight of this film is that everything here feels real and quite raw.
The performances are certainly a key strength, with the cast delivering in all areas. Performances create many touching and powerful moments. The selection of music tracks felt fitting and brought a positive experience to the film. The pacing is great for the majority, but I can’t deny that I felt slightly disappointed by the final yet vague moments.
Overall, Sirley is a dramatic film filled with solid and raw performances all around. Everything on show here feels real as it tackles many themes about family, friendship, pain and love. Director Elisa Amoruso is quite passionate and kind enough to share moments from her past on the big screen. Musical tracks are well selected and fitting. For the most part, the pacing is great, but the film’s final moments do feel somewhat vague. Sirley (2020) is available at the Italian Film Festival – Spring 2021 presented by Palace Cinemas. For more information, check out the link here: https://www.italianfilmfestival.com.au/