Connect with us

Featured Review

Glasgow Film Festival 2024 – Sorry/Not Sorry ★★★



Released: 2024

Director: Cara Mones + Caroline Suh

Review By: Billie Walker

“This is how you keep the men away” Abby Schachner jokes to the camera as she layers up. A poignant introduction to the insipid misogyny and victim blaming that is rife in the comedy circuit that is the focus of Sorry/Not Sorry.

Through the testimonials of the female comedians and male peers that worked alongside Louis C.K., Sorry/Not Sorry examines the sexual assault accusations surrounding the biggest American comedian of the 21st Century. This account offers detailed insight into Louis C.K.’s behavior while asking whose careers really suffered in the fall out. 

Much like the recent Dispatches investigation on the TV personality Russell Brand, the beginning of Sorry/Not Sorry is peppered with moments from the comedian’s act. We see Louis C.K. miming masturbation, admitting to graphic fantasies of women he meets and his long running skit: “there is no greater threat to women than men”. These clips allude to the gift of hindsight. But what is truly apparent when we reflect on both personalities side by side is our collective naivety, and a willingness to champion men for offering a sliver of self-awareness.

The documentary’s narrative structure is bolstered by the Gawker blind items that first raised the issue of Louis C.K.’s sexually aggressive history, as well as the Vulture interview where he denied the allegations. At a time when many media organizations are shuttering and the landscape of journalism is going through a catastrophic shift, Megan Koester’s definition of Gawker as “a profoundly flawed organization I miss desperately”, rang out. The necessity of journalism that promises to go beyond promotional material is pivotal to exposing those in power. A question that should be raised explicitly is how can we create a safer entertainment industry at all when the celebrity interview is now limited to hot sauce and shallow trivia. Moments which are purely viral fodder and no way to ensure accountability.

Despite an albeit weak statement of accountability and a promise to step back, it wasn’t long before Louis C.K. returned to the stage, as he remains to this day, with an untarnished career and continuing popularity. Sorry/Not Sorry attempts to use this as an example of the failure of “cancel culture”. But this is summed up by a single sound bite. The film assumes “cancel culture” is the way we should deal with problematic members of society, ignoring that it’s a term much like “woke” comes from counter culture, and not one adopted by those fighting for systemic change. By reinforcing the existence of “cancel culture” even if it’s supposed failings, Sorry/Not Sorry feeds the myth of the pitchfork wielding mob that allows perpetrators to paint themselves as victims and find a new fan base.

What makes Sorry/Not Sorry unique from the unsurprisingly growing number of these post-MeToo exposés, is its ability to wade into the grey areas. Alongside the comedians who have been hounded by the media for daring to speak out against Louis C.K., the documentary asks fans about their continuing support, and questions the men who heard rumblings but turned a blind eye. Sorry/Not Sorry is an imperfect examination of a deeply flawed systemic issue that plants seeds but does not nurture them.

Just For You