4 December 2020 | ferguson-6
Greetings again from the darkness. Is there anything more tragic or grotesque than a beloved adult manipulating an innocent child to the point of sexual abuse? Dusty Mancinelli and Madeleine Sims-Fewer collaborate again as co-writers and co-directors for a film that is uncomfortable to watch, yet hits on certain ramifications of sexual abuse within a family.
In her first screen appearance (and a terrific one at that), Maya Harman stars as 10 year old Jude. We squirm in our seat as she plays a game of profanity followed by an even more disturbing game of "Dare" with an adult male (Jesse LaVercombe). Jude is exceedingly comfortable with this man, and she encourages him to attend her upcoming dance recital. Things slowly escalate between the moments of bad behavior and laughter.
Their time together flips back and forth with a family Christmas dinner (held after the encounter), where relationships are obviously affected by Jude's disclosure of what happened. The camera work from Adam Crosby keeps us close to the facial expressions, while also capturing the chaotic nature of a family gathering. Though we see none of the physical abuse, the lasting effects are quite apparent and devastating. This is a tough 22 minute film to watch, but one that drives home the importance of the topic.