Made in partnership with the One in Four charity, The Whole Truth follows Mallory, a young police officer, who begins to revisit her own past as schoolgirl Jenny is interviewed about a school incident.
I think films that delve into heavy topics, such a sexual assault, can really do well to portray the truth, or fabricate a big Hollywood version that makes real victims and survivors feel small. To pair with a specialist child sexual abuse and trauma charity, really shows me as a viewer how well this story was thought of and made, to be able to show the bigger picture of what really happens in our world. It’s heart-breaking to think that children can be taken advantage of, especially by people who they thought would care for and support them.
Directed by Yelita Ali and written by Sophie Max, The Whole Truth flickers between home, the office and a dreamlike space, coming back to haunt the women we see on our screen. I really liked this cold, minimalist style compared to hazy, pastel visions, showing us how times like this can be blocked out, ignored, glossed over, but how the concrete truth will always be there, even if the full memories are not. I liked how the daydreamy shots seemed like they could be either girl, both stuck in a place they were wanting to forget.
Max also stars in the film as the lonely but well-intentioned police officer, leading the questioning of Jenny. I liked Sophie Max’s performance. I think a lot of effort was put into the creation of the character, to give us a realistic look into the life and work of a police officer, especially one so young. It wasn’t necessarily nice, but it was refreshing to see how someone in the police had been through a similar situation at a younger age. We imagine that people in certain jobs or power, or even celebrities with bodyguards can never be hurt or broken down, but they still can, and surely, they had a life before they took the leap onto that next step. People who have been through so much are still able to grow and move on, following their dreams, even if that means they still need to access help themselves.
Jenny, played by Kaja Chan, is a difficult schoolgirl, sitting opposite Mallory in the interview room, being asked about a teacher. I liked this character. She was strong and aware, but at the same time, just needed to feel supported to be able to tell her truth. It’s a shame to know that so many people go through a similar process to Jenny, thinking that they’ll harm themselves or their attacker if they come forward. I think Chan did a brilliant job in showing how victims can feel and their emotions change during a process like this.
Music wasn’t used really in this short film, which was nice, as the pauses were left with empty space rather than being filled with a pretty tune. I think a score would’ve added to the heights of emotion but going without didn’t cause it to lose its effect, just show off in a different way. I’m glad this film took its own path, rather than following the norms.
Like I said at the start, making a film like this can be difficult, however I think that The Whole Truth tells its strong story in a strong way. I’m glad I’ve been able to see this film, reminding me how everyone has gone through something. You shouldn’t necessarily joke or judge, but instead be there to support and listen, just like the characters needed in this film.