Coming-of-age stories revolving around teenage girls are not uncommon, and most of the time, we see the same cliches that never really capture what being young is actually like. But when 16-year-old Cyd (Jessie Pinnick) asks for the WiFi password not 5 minutes into her stay with her estranged aunt, I knew that Princess Cyd is a film that understands what young people today are like – habits and desires and struggles and all.
Following Stephen Cone’s potential-laden but unfulfilling previous effort, Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, the director has refined his subtle portrayals of teenage sexuality to create a story that is rich in depth, relatable and an absolute delight to watch. Cyd is unashamedly bisexual, finding herself interested in her aunt’s gardener and striking up a relationship with barista, Katie, with all the teenage awkwardness that comes with it. When a lesbian couple asks what gender she likes, she simply replies that she likes everything with no fanfare whatsoever – what a perfect moment.
The relationship between Cyd and her aunt Miranda (Rebecca Spence) is even more vital to the story than the coming-of-age element. Though they are completely different (Miranda is a famous writer, Cyd doesn’t even read), they quickly develop a strong bond that crosses generational gaps. And it’s refreshing to see so little conflict with a maternal figure/daughter relationship like this – in Princess Cyd, the two women support and learn from each other. If only all directors treated their female characters as well as this.