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The Cope

The Cope

17:41 | Ireland | 2022

8:30 PM

April 21, 2023


Jamie Delaney




Sadhbh, a girl from a small Irish fishing town, has one dream: to escape and become a professional dancer. Therefore, she is thrilled when Aoife, her best friend and a fellow dancer, turns up with news of a big audition the following morning. However, Sadhbh's boyfriend, Matty, an insecure, emotional manipulator, is terrified that this could spell the end of their relationship. So, he devises a plan.


Jamie is a Cannes Lion-winning Irish writer and director. His short films have been BAFTA long-listed, viewed millions of times, and screened at international film festivals including SXSW, Dublin International Film Festival, Encounters, Brooklyn Horror Film and Fantasia Festival. As a director he has been recognised with the Kinsale New Director Award, Clio Best Director Award, Vimeo Staff Picks, Silver Cannes Lion, and the Gold Creative Pool Award. His most recent scripts, Biscuits and G.I.R.L have been selected for development by Torino Film Lab and the Interfilm Berlin script lab. He has just completed an M.Phil in Screenwriting at Trinity College Dublin and is represented by Ridley Scott Films and Curtis Brown literary and talent agency.


The Cope is a universal exploration of toxic love. They say love is blind, and in the case of the protagonist Sadhbh, that is undoubtedly true. 

Trapped in a relationship that, at best, is toxic, Sadhbh knows things aren’t right. Situations should be better. But with this realisation comes the inevitable self-sabotage. It is more comfortable to ignore and slip back into the comfortability of a noxious embrace. All of this is not made any easier by her boyfriend, Matty, who weaponises Sadhbh’s insecurities and addictions, trapping her in a cage of her own making.

But the mask is slipping and what once seemed attractive and edgy is now sad and controlling. Sadhbh may be naïve, but she is not stupid and knows her future lies elsewhere. But realising it is the easy bit, change is hard, even if it means your future health and happiness. Sometimes it takes an uncomfortable nudge to realise this. Sadhbh has made a habit of ignoring the nudges, that is, until now. This is the one moment of clarity. The one shocking, unignorable nudge that frames our story.

These themes fascinate me and are a recurring motif in my work. In particular, the use of masks in relationships. This hiding in plain sight and the inability to be truthful pushes our antagonist over the edge. The persona overtakes the person. Matty is an emotional manipulator and a gaslighter. But in his mind, he is only doing what is necessary to protect what he thinks he loves. Matty knows Sadhbh’s audition could represent the end of their relationship. So, he resorts to even more extreme measures out of fear, spiking her drink. The irony is this horrible act is the catalyst Sadhbh’ needed, the final push over the edge, leading to her change and eventual escape. 

This is very much a film for the time we live, dealing with essential issues: like addiction, mental health, toxic masculinity and the housing crisis. The story is universal in its depiction of contemporary, early adulthood. Although set in small-town Ireland, it could be any town anywhere globally. This drama is not quite ‘kitchen sink’, but there is a sharp social critique. And when that is juxtaposed against the ethereal nature of Sadhbh’s dance rehearsals, it offers a poetic, gen-z counterbalance that is as universal as tiktok videos.










North American


Jamie Delaney

Executive Producer:


Ronan Cassidy, Greg Burrowes


Jamie Delaney


Luke Jacobs


Tommaso Gallone


Lauryn Canny, Diarmuid Noyes

Jamie Delaney
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