Updated: Jan 12
Directed by #YelitaAli
Written by #SophieMax
The Whole Truth mostly takes place during an ABE interview as Mallory (Max) tries to get the truth, the whole truth, out of Jenny (Chan) about what has happened between her and her teacher. This film tackles a major problem we face in this world and that is paedophilia and grooming. This is a film that is not afraid to hold back or hide details from us, it should be highly praised for this point. We are forced to pay attention.
The direction by Yelita Ali is interesting, and for the most part it is good. However, in places, the film can be a tad hard to follow with things that happen to characters that feel very out of place in the moment. We get some interesting flashback scenes that take place during the interview, they give us hints and show us little details that take place during Jenny and her teacher’s encounters. This would be good but we get loud, excessive noise that throws you from the film a bit and you can’t help but feel, given the story they are telling, silence would have been more impactful.
The film's real strength comes from Sophie Max herself; she provides great dialogue and an even better performance. She sells every bit of emotion and both her and Chan do a great job in bringing the story to life. Even though this is a great screenplay, one can’t help but feel the twist is a bit unnecessary for a film tackling such an important issue. I understand the need to give a big dramatic twist but the premise of the interview with Jenny being so brainwashed by her groomer was already interesting enough.
The cinematography is fine. It serves the story with a muted colour pallet but it doesn't do anything interesting and some of the handheld footage is just a little bit too shaky and can take you out of film in places. However, one place where the film excels is Karya Sezener's beautiful, emotional score that accompanies the film. It is perfectly suited to the film and really helps to immerse you in the story.
Overall, this is a decent short film. A lot of the credit should go to Sophie Max and I look forward to seeing her future work. The film delivers exactly the message it intends to; that we must be aware of the issue of grooming and paedophilia in order to safeguard children against it. It’s great to see charities like One in Four helping to raise awareness through the medium of film, it's a very accessible way to get the message across to a lot of people.