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Inside Out LGBT 2013: ‘Submerge’ ultimately feels like an elongated version of a teenage television drama

Inside Out LGBT 2013: ‘Submerge’ ultimately feels like an elongated version of a teenage television drama


Directed by Sophie O’Connor
Written by Sophie O’Connor and Kat Holmes
2012, Australia  

Submerge follows a young Australian  University student Jordan as she struggles to balance her studies with her competitive swimming and a newly burgeoning social life. When Jordan begins to neglect all of her responsibilities for an affair she is having with her professor’s wife she starts to travel down a path of short term pleasures and long term repercussions.

It’s not the most complicated plot, nor does it have to be, but rest assured that by the 30-minute mark you’ll have predicted each and every event that will take place. It’s also likely that by that 30 minute mark you’ll have lost all faith that the performances will be enough to get you through the film. The actors certainly aren’t terrible but they do seem very limited by what the script allows them to be. The poor character development means that characters aren’t expected to step outside their archetypes of Gay best friend, overbearing mother and conflicted married lover. On the subject of the scripts limiting ability, attempts at demonizing certain characters is laughable. The film wants you to side with Jordan and sympathize with all the stress and pressure she has coming from her situation and her mother. The reality is that her mom is more interested and involved than controlling and authoritative. She’s constantly giving Jordan choices and second chances, yet we’re expected to take Jordan’s side why? It’s even worse with Professor Cameron and his wife Angie. Angie seemingly cheats on her husband with Jordan out of pure boredom and then doesn’t really regret it until her quality of living goes down slightly. The professor is eventually portrayed as a homophobic brute, which not only isn’t reflective of any behavior or dialogue he had beforehand but after the actual homophobic outburst he genuinely seems embarrassed and remorseful. Within the context of the story he may have just had an episode of bigotry based on the fact that his wife was cheating on him with another woman.


Worst of all has to be the music which often drowns out the dialogue and turns the movie into a music video. The frequent and emphasized use of music is likely intended to reinforce the angst of Jordan and the younger generation as a whole. Instead it brings out the lack of writing and the lack of chemistry in the two leads. In all, despite a few quirky and sweet moments first time director Sophie O’Connor’s film Submerge ultimately feels like an elongated version of a teenage television drama a la Degrassi Jr. High or Skins.

– Taegan J. Brown

Toronto Inside Out takes place from May 23 – June 2nd. Visit the official website for additional information.

2013 toronto