Sister Alva and Sister Mary are given a reason to pause and ask what they want to do with the rest of their lives when the third member of their trio passes away. Confronting the death of their friend will prompt them to be honest with one another and with themselves, and they decide to go on a day filled with adventure. Think Thelma & Louise, but with nuns in their golden years! Writer/director Stephanie Kaznocha’s directorial debut Confessions is a sweet, feel-good movie with a witty sense of humor that makes for an undeniably charming and delightful watch.
“I craved to see a world where people were gentle and compassionate with one another”
Kaznocha shared with us that she penned the film while “struggling to feel hopeful and optimistic about the future”, consuming too much news and popular TV shows that, while entertaining, did not depict the best side of humanity, or provide the lightness she was looking for. “I craved to see a world where people were gentle and compassionate with one another”, she added when explaining what was the initial spark of the writing process.
Confessions is one of those films that is effortlessly charismatic and provides that warm feeling the artist was looking for in her own media diet. Kaznocha strikes the right balance between vulnerability and comedy, which makes her two protagonists immediately likable as we watch them embark on their special day and bear witness to the confessions they’ve been holding on to. Tension is provided, and there is a palpable feeling of relief as the pair confess their dark secrets, but rest assured they are dark in the sweetest way of course, and delivered with the impeccable comedic timing that typifies the entire effort here.
The structure of the film is bound to the timeline of the film, which happens over the course of a day. Throughout the film, the two women slowly become more and more honest in a cute, tit-for-tat process of drawing each other out, which is pleasurable and surprisingly engrossing.
While the sound design, the editing, and the cinematography could all be highlighted for the ways they subtly and skilfully support the narrative, ultimately, the friendship between the two ladies is the beating heart at the center of the film. Confessions is irresistibly charming primarily due to the two lead actresses, Carol Herman and Eve Sigall, and their chemistry, which is lovely and communicates the years of friendship their characters share. Both actors nail the emotional depth and the comedic tone of Kaznocha’s script, and as they invite us to tag along for their day, it is simply impossible to not want to follow them. After the last joke, which made them all the more adorable, I felt a touch of sadness—all I wanted was to spend more time with them!
Confessions had its world premiere at the 2023 edition of the Palm Springs ShortFest, after which it went on to be selected at multiple festivals including Rhode Island, where it won the First Prize in the Best Live Action Competition, and Salute Your Shorts where it won an Audience Award and earned a Jury special mention (from a jury I served on!). Kaznocha is currently developing the film into a series, so hopefully, many more adventures await Sister Alva and Sister Mary. Kaznocha also has extensive credits as an editor on popular TV shows and edited previous S/W-pick, sometimes, i think about dying.