The Sympathy Card is a sweet, funny and touching story. Emma and Josie are in love. They are married and had a life planned. But fate has other plans and when Emma’s cancer takes a turn for the worse, she declares that Josie needs to find someone new to love her. She doesn’t want Josie to be alone and she certainly does not want to be a burden to the love of her life.

Josie refuses at first but Emma persists and so Josie has some half hearted attempts at dating. These are ridiculous, funny and often awkward. Then flower shop owner Siobhan tosses her hat in the ring and for the first time Emma realises that she may be able to have a relationship with someone other than her dying wife.

But life is never quite that simple and neither is this film.

The Story

The story is told with a combination of current events that focus on Emma’s cancer progression and Josie’s attempt at getting back into the dating scene interspersed with flashbacks that show us how Emma and Josie met and fell in love.

As the film unfolds it becomes clearer as to why Emma is making this seemingly ridiculous request of her wife and why Josie is going through with it.

The Technical Stuff

The editing, shooting and acting in the film were all great. The script was unusual and quirky but maintained a humanity that touched me deeply.

I found one or two spots where the sound was very low and I couldn’t hear what was being said. I am not sure if that is the version I got (pre screening) or if there was a technical problem. Having said that it didn’t really detract too much from the story.

There was a fab soundtrack too.

On a side note, I think it’s super cool that this film was shot in the Boston area featuring an all-local team made up of 75% female- and 33% queer- identifying crew members and using local queer-owned businesses as locations. This is the kind of support we need to make the community stronger and tell stories that are truly for us.

The Pros

You can see that this wasn’t a big budget film and frankly you don’t need it in order to tell a great story. This film is an example of what can be produced when you have a worthy story and a great cast and crew.

I loved the complexity of the characters even though this was mostly a comedy film.

The Cons

Just the minor sound thing, but once again, I don’t actually know if that was my streaming or the film.

The Conclusion

Keep an eye out for this one. It is rare to see such a beautiful, unique and touching story in any context, never mind the context of lesbian films.

I laughed and cried. I felt for Josie and Emma and just wanted to reach into the screen to hug them.

This film manages to be both easy to follow and complex, with moments that are so poignant you want to look away so as not to intrude, while also being rip roaringly funny.

Also worth noting is that there was some good onscreen chemistry between Josie and Emma and between Josie and Siobhan making the events feel even more realistic.

What a great film and what a privilege to have it be about the queer community.


Check the movie’s website to see screening info

Bits and Bobs

Director: Brendan Boogie

Producers: Petey J Gibson, Brendan Boogie

Writers: Brendan Boogie

Actors: Nika Ezell Pappas, Petey J Gibson, Lauren Neal