Twenty-something Renata and her sister Siena accompany their boisterous, Italian-Canadian parents on a week-long vacation at a beach resort. Renata has been fired from her job but keeps it a secret from her overbearing mother. As the days of beach lounging, card games, and the expectation of “taking it easy” slowly begin taking their toll, Renata’s growing need for a dwindling independence begins to fray in the face of increasingly tense family dynamics.
While the depiction of trans characters in cinema often incorporates brutal shaming and family relations blown apart by unacceptance, filmmaker Luis De Filippis (For Nonna Anna, IFFR 2018) explores the nuanced threading of a loving and supportive family through the sun-soaked tedium of a summer trip. Renata is embraced and loved for who she is, and called “Mama” affectionately by her mother. But vacation can magnify annoyances and hidden truths for even the most devoted families, and Something You Said Last Night captures this dizzying onslaught on Ren’s dynamic sense of self, as she moves through the fluidity of familial chaos with both steely confidence and timid hints of self-consciousness, balanced with commanding presence by actress Carmen Madonia.
The result is a tenderly realised and understated portrait of a family, woven through the gauzy details of summer and Renata’s contemplative observance as an uplifted, multifaceted woman, sister and daughter.