Updated: Jun 17, 2020
Directed by: Nikki Tomb and Kris Smith
Written by: Nikki Tomb
Starring: Megan Groves, Kellyann Summers, Martyn Luke, Chris Shipton
Laura's Story Movie Review
Laura's Story is a short film directed by Nikki Tomb and Kris Smith and starring Megan Groves, Kellyann Summers, Chris Shipton and Martyn Luke. The story centres around two young women who go for a night out and things turn sinister.
The film begins with Laura (Groves) being visited at her home by her friend Kaylee (Summers), where the two of them prepare for a night out for Laura's birthday. They chat, laugh, have a few drinks and Laura tries on the clothes that Kaylee brought for her. They then take a taxi to go to a club. There they meet two men who introduce themselves as Tom (Shipton) and James (Luke), who appear friendly. The girls excuse themselves to go to the bathroom, where Laura changes her mind about going out. Meanwhile the two men plan to spike their drinks, but only manage to do so with one, as the girls return. Laura turns out to be the one who got drugged, as shortly after drinking she begins to feel dizzy and unwell. She ends up sitting on some stairs, while the owner of the club assists her and tells Tom and James to leave, as they have both been banned from the club. Kaylee takes Laura out and they look for a taxi. Unable to find one, Kaylee leaves Laura sitting on the pavement, while she goes to get one. Tom and James reappear and take Laura to an isolated location, where they take turns in raping her and film the event on a mobile phone. They then walk away. Meanwhile Kaylee is frantically searching for Laura. A distressed Laura cries and lies on the ground. She then manages to pull herself together in order to call the police. The film then cuts to six months later and Laura and Kaylee are at Laura's home, where they are watching a news broadcast, revealing that the two culprits have been sentenced to ten years in prison. A clearly traumatised Laura is comforted by Kaylee.
The performances are outstanding. Luke and Shipton are very convincing as they portray two twofaced individuals who are up to no good. Groves and Summers put on great performances, by accurately depicting the emotions that their characters are going through. Though it is Groves's character who gets violated, Summers also goes through hell as she desperately searches for her friend. And Summers catches her character's desperation perfectly. Groves truly delivers a brilliant performance. The viewer watches as she transforms from a joyful person into a broken one. During and after the rape, the pain and humiliation are visible all over her face and the audience cannot help but feel bad for her. The acting is undoubtedly one of the film's strongest elements.
The score also takes a great deal of credit. The sinister music during the opening credits informs the viewer that they are about to witness a dark tale. When the girls exit the club, the diegetic club music stops and sinister score takes over again, setting the mood for the events that follow. The music becomes more and more intense and reaches its climax when Laura breaks down after she has been raped. It is a harrowing but also brilliant moment, thanks to the dynamic score, Groves's acting and Tomb's and Smith's directing. And also thanks to clever parallel editing that cuts between Laura as she suffers and Kaylee as she searches for her in dark streets, with the tense music in a way dominating that sequence, it appears as if they are both lost in hell. The ending appears to mourn Laura's suffering by having Samuel Barber's brilliant Adagio for Strings play through the closing credits.
The film could be viewed as a warning of the dangers of drink spiking. The events that lead to the rape are clearly depicted in the film. Two women on a night out get comfortable with two strangers, one of the women gets drugged, and when they go to look for a taxi, the drugged woman is foolishly left alone. Getting comfortable with strangers and leaving people who are feeling unwell by themselves are actions that should be avoided in order to have a safe night out.
The film ends with a quote by Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie: ''We must send a message across the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence...The shame is on the aggressor.'' These powerful words clearly indicate that the filmmakers intended their film to be a kind of support towards victims of sexual crimes. And it achieves support by raising awareness and raises awareness by depicting the devastating effects that such crimes have on the victims.
Laura's Story is not a pleasant film to watch. But it deserves great praise and recognition for all the reasons mentioned above.