A coming of age story meets The Smiths' fandom of the '80s in The More You Ignore Me. This film weaves Morrissey's legacy into the befuddled homelife of Alice (Ella Hunt), her loyal father, Keith (Mark Addy), and mentally disabled mother, Gina (Sheridan Smith) in rural England. The film is an adaptation of Jo Brand's darkly comic novel. Yet, beneath Brand's comedic writing, The More You Ignore Me tackles difficult themes like mental illness and loss as Alice is bent between her devotion to her mother and her newly found love for Morrissey of The Smiths, a symbol of freedom and vivacity away from her mundane reality.
Buoyant yet unpredictable, the film shows us that family ties and youthful imagination are not mutually exclusive as Alice and Gina fall apart yet are brought back together again by Morrissey, whose stardom fuels them both with hopeful optimism. Upfront, Gina takes so much away from Alice: A stable maternal figure, a letter written by Morrissey himself, and eventually her long-awaited place at The Smith's concert. But Alice learns that it can all be shared, so long as her mother can still experience the joys of life through her fraught state. The More You Ignore Me taps into the hysteria of the '80s, the blissfulness of youth, and the attachments to home. As "This Charming Man" plays over Alice and Gina's reconnection, the audience can't help but fall in love with The Smiths all over again.
The More You Ignore Me
Directed by Keith English
Out October 13
Top Image: courtesy of Gareth Gatrell
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Olivia Simonds is a graduate of Clark University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in English literature and creative writing. Much of her work is inspired by long subway rides, her friendships, and the perpetual pulse of New York City, where she grew up and still lives today.
You can follow her on Instagram @oliviasimonds or on Twitter @livsimondss