Here at Film Threat, we continually tell independent filmmakers, that there’s no excuse not to make your movie and tell your story. Deep down, we all share the same experiences, and as filmmakers, we can connect with audiences no matter how big, or non-existent, the budget. Consider a very famous and very high-budget movie featuring both fast and furious cars. At its core, it’s a story of family, and like that big-budget franchise, indie filmmaker Cate Jones’s She’s the Eldest, also tells a story about family. Although, she did so with practically no budget and I would argue it is just as good as that car series.
As the title implies, struggling artist Leanne (Mary Buss) is the eldest sibling of the Bradbury family. As she’s indulging in her hobby of writing, we learn that as a teen, Leanne’s parents abandoned her and her siblings. Her mother was mentally ill, and her father couldn’t tolerate his unstable wife any longer and “disappeared.” This forced Leanne to become the adult overnight and raise her sister Polly and brother Jamie on her own.
“…Leanne’s parents abandoned her, and her siblings…forced Leanne to become the adult overnight and raise her sister Polly and brother Jamie…”
Now, shoot to the present, Leanne is not exactly happy with her life as a wife and mother. Her brother, Jamie (Mickey Reece), calls her out of the blue because his wife left him, and he needs Leanne’s sibling/ parental support to help him grieve his marriage. Hoping to bring the family closer together, Leanne convinces Polly (Cate Jones) to join her on the visit even though she and Jamie are estranged.
The three siblings grew up to become three very different people since being abandoned. Polly is independent and has trust and intimacy issues. Jamie is needy, overly relying on others for emotional support, and like a vampire, sucks the emotional life out of those who choose to help him. Leanne never really had an adolescence, and deep down still resents being put in that position. With Jamie’s cry for help, these three disparate family members must work their way through their dysfunctional hang-ups and hopefully become stronger.
"…Jones has a story to tell, and she made her movie with the resources available to her…"