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5th April 2022

MANIFF 2022: We’re All in This Together

MANIFF 2022: Katie Boland acts in, directs, writes, and produces her directorial debut We’re All in This Together
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MANIFF 2022: We’re All in This Together
Photo: We’re All in This Together poster @ MANIFF.com

We’re All in This Together is Katie Boland’s directorial debut. Boland started off as an actress and now is exploring the world of writing, producing and directing. In an interview with her, we discussed this move towards directing. Boland feels that with acting there was

“A lack of agency. Other people decided if you were going to work”

In this film, Boland not only takes on the impressive task of all three, (producing, writing, and directing) but also acts the role of not one but two of the characters (twin sisters). For Boland, being such an integral part of all aspects of the film was

“Thrilling, I was on a constant adrenaline high.”

With the many roles she has taken on, and having a tight filming schedule of just 16 days, the project is a huge achievement in itself.

The film follows the story of a broken family. Finn is drawn back home after her mother has thrown herself down a waterfall in a barrel. She miraculously survives, but is left in a coma. The film follows the reunion of a family broken up by heartbreak and struggles with mental illness. Finn and her twin sister Nicky, (Boland), are forced to revisit their past and work through their resentment and bitterness toward each other.

It’s a complex story, interwoven with many narratives. In our interview, Boland said she had to focus on particular characters from the original novel she adapted into this screenplay given the wealth of narratives within the former. However, this complexity did become apparent, and at times, was a little too much for a ninety minute film.

Despite this, the film is impressive. Strong acting from Boland herself and a vibrant colour palette to reflect its dark comedic element were highlights. There were also moments of flashback and closeup used, illustrating the inner turmoil of the suffering matriarch. This illustrated not only her struggle but her family’s struggle as well. The immense pressure to look after their mother is very apparent in all of her daughters.

The most notable thing about the film was the differentiation between the two twins. Whilst the portrayal of Nicky was verging on cliché, both were extremely different. There was an intense contrast, and I often found myself swept away, never acknowledging that the characters were played by the same actor. I think this is a primary fear when first going into the film knowing the technical details, so Boland’s success is commendable.

An overall huge achievement, for the complex project that it was. Katie Boland balances the huge task of the adaptation, the direction, the production and the acting of a feature length film.

3.5/5.


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