In 2013, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse heard hundreds of tales of systemic cover-ups of the unforgivable crimes of child abusers.
Over a decade prior it was a court case involving lawyer Stephen Roache’s representation of a young woman who was abused whilst in the care of an Anglican prep school that essentially heralded this movement. It’s this landmark case that serves as the main inspiration behind ‘Don’t Tell’, an effective drama that proves earnestness is quite often the most effective story-telling key.
As portrayed by Aden Young, Roache is a quietly determined man who takes it upon himself to represent the troubled Lyndal (Sara West), a young woman who 10-years prior was the subject of molestation at the hands of a housemaster (Gyton Grantley) during her attendance at a Toowoomba boarding school.
When the film opens the housemaster in question has since committed suicide, but it is the remnants of his actions that have plagued Lyndal, and her estranged parents (Martin Sacks and Susie Porter), ever since.
Foregoing any formulaic courtroom dramatisations and simply allowing James Greville’s script to lay the foundation for an emotionally evocative experience, Tori Garrett’s film thrives through its ability to highlight subtlety.
The performances on hand are all uniformly outstanding (West is a real revelation) and the film’s insistence on making its audience experience this tragedy – thankfully not overtly visual – allows an all-too common occurrence to be continually acknowledged as a crime whose victims can all have their voices heard; this is truly powerful storytelling.
Don’t Tell is in cinemas on Thursday. Watch the trailer below: