Don’t Tell: Why every parent should see this movie
IT has been a great few months for Australian cinema-goers thanks to home-grown stories like Jasper Jones and Red Dog: True Blue getting screen time.
Now comes one that is sure to not only create conversation, but will stand in time as one of the most important films about our attitudes towards sexual abuse, our education system and the church.
Filmed in Ipswich and Toowoomba, the new film Don't Tell tells the true story of sexual abuse at one of Queensland's top schools.
Based on the book by Toowoomba lawyer Stephen Roche, Don't Tell is the story of Lyndal (Sara West), a promising A-student who is sent to boarding school at Toowoomba Prep in 1990.
Late at night Lyndal is one of several girls sexually abused by Kevin Guy (Gyton Grantley), a man trusted with the care and protection of the boarders at the school.
Years later, Lyndal suffers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She is off the rails, and struggling to deal with what happened to her. Due to the law allowing a time frame for such cases, and with time running out for her case to go before the courts, she entrusts Roche (Aden Young) with her case.
He sets out through the legal system to expose the secret sex scandal. With the help of bright-eyed young associate Jodie Collins and the enigmatic barrister Bob Myers (Jack Thompson), Lyndal is in for the fight of a lifetime.
When Kevin Guy committed suicide, soon after police started to investigate, he left behind a suicide note - a crucial piece of evidence.
Was the school aware of his activities? Did they do anything about it? How far did the denials and the wall of silence go?
Don't Tell has possibly the best cast for an Aussie film in many years. Not only do you get Jack Thompson in his meatiest role in years, but director Tori Garrett has also thrown in Martin Sacks, Susie Porter, Rachel Griffiths, and Jacqueline Mackenzie, all of whom bring their A-game to this confronting true story that deserves to be told.
It may be unpleasant to consider what happened, but this is the reality of sexual abuse and you'll find yourself asking how all of this could have unfolded for so long. But at the same time you are encouraged by a young woman who stood up and wanted someone to take responsibility.
For a long time Lyndal was told 'don't tell' and her courage hopefully will allow others to find the strength to speak up.
Don't Tell moves along at a cracking pace, and while much of the action takes place in the courtroom, it is riveting viewing and doesn't get bogged down in legalities.
It shows Toowoomba and Ipswich in all their glory with wonderful cinematography, particularly the countryside, thanks to a tight script.
Jack Thompson, Aden Young and Jacqueline Mackenzie all shine in their roles, but it is Sara West who steals the show. Her performance takes you through every emotion and she is definitely one to watch for the future.
Don't Tell is a movie that not only every parent, but every Australian should go see. Why? As a society, we need to make sure this kind of behaviour is stamped out and anyone who turns a blind eye answers to the full force of the law. Victims of sexual abuse should never feel like they don't have a voice.
There's a saying that 'evil prevails when good men do nothing'. This is a movie that shows what can happen when good people say enough is enough.
Do whatever you have to do to see Don't Tell.
- Stars: Jack Thompson, Rachel Griffiths, Sara West, Aden Young, Gyton Grantley.
- Director: Tori Garrett
- Rating: M
- Reviewer: Darren Hallesy
- Verdict: 5/5 stars