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Directed by Tom Smith

Starring Kate Louise Turner, Lydia Atherton & Antonia Kleopa

Short film review by Amaliah S. Marmon-Halm

A powerful drama based around the emotional and physical trauma of having an eating disorder, Empty, by director Tom Smith & Producer/scriptwriter Kate Louise Turner, follows Kiera (also played by Kate Louise Turner) on her daily struggle to fight her condition. The film opens to what seems like a normal teenage girl starting her day. Things take an emotive turn when she then turns to look at herself in the mirror and starts to cry. The look of despair is one that anyone can relate to; the struggles of being a teenager and feeling like the world is on your shoulders.

Kiera is later joined by her “friend” Anna (Lydia Atherton), who is nothing but overbearing, judgemental, mouthy and emotionally damaging – clearly a character who you are meant to hate. She seems to fulfil the purpose of a tool to stop Kiera from eating and only there to maintain her low self-esteem.

Turner does an amazing job to really captivate the audience and portray what is like to endure such an all-consuming condition, like so many people in today’s society. From the timid, anxious and rather weak girl that she portrays in the beginning of the short film, to the much stronger version that she becomes towards its end, it’s hard to cheer her character on as Turner makes us believe in her performance whole-heartedly.

From her continued hardships and through supportive figures like Ms Ashton (Antonia Kleopa), we learn that Anna is just a figment of her imagination; a personification of the horrible voices in her head. We also learn that rather than anorexia and bulimia is not just a physical condition, but one that is a mental struggle for control of one’s life.

The final words that are displayed just round off the film beautifully, with such a simple yet extremely important message. “1 in 100 women have a clinically diagnosed eating disorder…you are not alone.”

I cannot find a better way to end this review than that.

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