User Reviews (8)

Add a Review

  • Don't Tell: Sara West gives an Oscar-winning performance as Lyndal who was sexually abused when she was 11 years old by her housemaster at a boarding school in Toowoomba, Australia. She courageously brings an action for damages against the Anglican Church in 2001. Clearly suffering from PTSD, this 22-year-old ploughed on refusing to compromise.

    Professional film reviewers have suggested the film is 'static', 'polite', 'lacking sizzle', 'too cautious' and 'earnest'. I disagree. There was no need for flamboyance or extravagant camera angles.

    Lyndal's story was the focus point and Tori Garrett, the director, obviously understood that.

    There was anger simmering below the surface, glances between the characters that needed no words. There were attempts of holding back incriminating evidence by the school authorities and pressure to bully the plaintive into accepting piddling damages.

    Lyndal stood firm but justice can be elusive and the jury's verdict unpredictable.

    The pacing was just right, the editing unobtrusive, the acting excellent and the director's decisions spot on. The movie held my attention to the very last frame.
  • I really liked 'Don't Tell' and I'll tell you why! The film is an important documenting of a shift in the legal system in Australia. It brings to light cogent stories of abuse and neglect in religious schools and systems. With loads of great actors: Aden Young has never been better (and he was feted some 25 years ago as the next big thing) as the lawyer who fights the good fight for justice. The iconic Jack Thompson is suitably pompous and majestic as the QC representing the young girl's case in court. Susie Porter is indelibly moving as the guilt ridden mother of the girl at the centre of the story. Sara West is a revelation as the aforementioned victim. Her bluster and trauma are never far from the surface and it is an often guttural portrayal - so believable and crucial to the film's success.

    With 3 writers adapting the story to the screen; Director Tori Garrett efficiently but prosaically delivers the journey; at times procedural but also very realistically and emotionally. Rachel Griffiths and Jacqueline McKenzie (two international stars and award winners in their own right) give supporting turns; the former a little too mannered for my liking here, and the latter a little arch in her performance, but it is great to see such terrific actors lend some heft to this production. It shines such an important light on an all too common issue but until recently not discussed widely as it should. 'Don't Tell' tells an essential yarn and does it with dignity.
  • This is a difficult film to sit through knowing the subject matter. I was tense from the start. However, the acting and the story line make for compelling viewing. Other reviews have spoken more of the story and performances. This is an outstanding movie produced in a typically Australian way. Worth seeing!
  • The courtroom drama Don't Tell (2017) is both a quintessentially Australian film and a story of universal relevance. The landmark case depicted in this film snowballed into the world's biggest commission of inquiry into child sexual abuse which is due to report later this year. Its findings will reverberate around the globe.

    The film tells the story of abuse survivor Lyndal (Sara West) who was an eleven-year-old victim of a paedophile priest at a prestigious Anglican boarding school. Now a young woman, she has endured years of substance abuse, self-harm, and loss of self-respect as a victim not believed. She is also volatile, brash and contemptuous of all authority. A struggling local lawyer Stephen Roche (Aden Young) reluctantly agrees to take her case against the massive financial and political muscle of the Anglican Church, assisted by barrister Bob Myers (Jack Thompson). The Church offers her 'silence money' and Lyndal is urged to accept but she only wants justice. When the facts of the abuse are uncontested in court, the crux of the legal and moral drama shifts to the spectacle of a major religious body callously manoeuvring to protect its institutional reputation and winning at all costs. Lawyers for the school admitted that the abuse occurred but claimed it could do nothing because it was unaware. Forensic legal research uncovered school governance documents that made it clear the school did know but chose not to act. This was to be the tip of an iceberg that had unimaginable dimensions.

    In the wrong director's hands, this film could easily have descended into victim melodrama or a dry 'David and Goliath' legal battle. Instead it is a finely balanced deep scar-tissue examination of the emotional impact of child sexual abuse, portrayed against the background of a well-directed reality courtroom drama. The filming captures the iconic Australian country town feel juxtaposed against the moral brittleness of a legal system that favours perpetrators of abuse and disempowers victims. The acting is excellent across the entire cast. Jack Thompson is superb as the imperious barrister while Sara West's performance as the damaged Lyndal is outstanding. It is a complex role full of anger that could easily have alienated audiences but Sara's ability to depict pain and vulnerability easily wins empathy.

    The enormity of this story cannot be overstated nor is it of historical interest only. It is entirely because of the bravery of victims like Lyndal that governments around the world can no longer claim they are unaware of the risks to children in care. Even those nations that have not yet taken steps to protect the young will know of the impact of these crimes. This film should be seen around the world, not as entertainment but for insight into the horror suffered by abuse victims and the moral abhorrence of institutional denialism.
  • It's so rare that I could recommend an Australian movie to audiences anywhere. Let's hope this one doesn't misfire at the box office, as Berlin Syndrome seems to be doing.

    It's based on a church-school rapist case that indirectly brought down an Australian Governor-General. Compared with Spotlight, it's more of an interior or chamber piece.

    Tori Garrett does very well in her debut feature. Nothing showy, but casting, script and cinematography are all well worked. The good guys are humanised, but so are the bad guys. The ending is a direct play on the emotions, but well earned i thought.

    The case also helped trigger our Royal Commission into institutional sex abuse. While our federal government now dithers over a few mil for a National Redress Scheme, it still has a ring-fenced $11b a year for the religious schools. One prominent principal proved to have protected abusers in the past is already bragging that his school will get more loot.
  • As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse myself, this powerful film left me resonating with so much of Lyndal's story (the main character). I've recently become aware that her lawyer was the catalyst for the creation of this film - that upon having a further survivor from Toowoomba Prep School come to him for assistance, he thought the only way to achieve the level of awareness and change needed was to create this film. I'm so glad he did - not just for the purpose he originally intended, but to let survivors everywhere know that their story needs to be told - to refuse to listen to anyone who says 'don't tell'. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  • This is when all come to the conclusion a very sad story about sad people, about grave n' old men, religion. shaven legs, sexual abuse, young girls in private schools, helpless parents, even more helpless abuse victims,judiciary systems, reputation and the most important of part of it all money.

    its the simplified edition of a large case of great importance that took place in australia in 2001. it ripped people and the comunnity in half, and threw shockwave into the australian population, when it was found written in a suicide letter that a teacher at the girls prep school had admitted to abusing a large number of the pupils on the schools ground. the letter was written by the abusing teacher himself. but the school would not take responsability for the teachers actions, and there fore the case and the film called ''dont tell''

    its an important film as to the fact that abuse of both boys and girls have been outnumbering the laymans imagination in private schools,religous or idealistic one, but also in the world of sports and...well you name it. i loved the outcome of this film,even though its tricky to watch and must have been a tricky case for both the plaintiff and her lawyers.

    as a film product, the acting are well above average, and the aussie dialect well preserved and used, andf therefore hard to dechiffre for a tinnitusious grumpy old norwegian. its is a film with a budget, and therefore some loopholes in the story, but the most imprtant parts of this sensitive case a very well done. the filmography give a taste of tv-production, and i do ask myself alot, where were the police in this case?, did they play a part?, why wasnt this a police matter? so there are somethings that are in my limited knowledge of australian history unanswered after viewing this movie, and that is why i award ''just'' an 8.

    but lets not forget the key, abuse is not allright at all, and we should all see this film, if so to make victims of these bestiallic crimes wether its at home or out in the community, to come forward with the truth/secrets, and may them be heard.a highly recommended move.
  • Finally got around to watching this movie based on a True Story. Congrats Australia for showing it and Congrats for changing the law to protect children.

    Foxtel Now