VTIFF Virtual Cinema presents: SOPHIE JONES: Inspired by true experiences of grief, girlhood, and growing up, Jessie Barr’s directorial debut, Sophie Jones, provides a stirring portrait of a sixteen year old. Stunned by the untimely death of her mother and struggling with the myriad challenges of teendom, Sophie (played with striking immediacy by the director’s cousin Jessica Barr) tries everything she can to feel something again, while holding herself together, in this sensitive, acutely realized, and utterly relatable coming-of-age story. And yet, the film is imbued with a dry sense of humor. This is no clichéd coming-of-age story.
The direction rejects linear storytelling to operate more as a series of vignettes, spread out over two or so years, which follow Sophie as she struggles to mourn her mother, develop her own personality, and explore her sexual identity. We jump forward sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months, but the focus is always two-pronged: the inner sadness Sophie carries that she rarely shares with anyone else, and the outer sexual confidence—tiptoeing into aggression—that she displays as she jumps from guy to guy.