Share review – sobering, sensitive drama focuses on high-school rape | Film

Join SoundtrackStream to find out the article “Share review – sobering, sensitive drama focuses on high-school rape | Film”

The innocuous bing of a new text message is transformed into a stomach-churning harbinger of doom in writer-director Pippa Bianco’s sobering, straight-to-the-point debut Share, a film offering up a devastating portrayal of high school life in the smartphone era. It starts with the end of a debauched party and with 16-year-old Mandy (Rhianne Barreto) waking up on her front lawn, unsettled by her inability to remember just what led to her getting there.

This uneasy sense of confusion follows her and us through what’s essentially a grim detective story – but one in which the detective has no control over the case she’s desperate to get to the bottom of. Her initial hope that perhaps the worst-case scenario was some drunken embarrassment is dashed when a video emerges, shared among friends, of Mandy unconscious and in the middle of a group of boys, one of whom starts to pull at her clothing. It’s inconclusive, but disconcerting enough to send her in a tailspin. Who’s seen it? Who’s judging her? And, most importantly, what happened after the video cut out?

Based on Bianco’s award-winning short of the same name, Share expands a horrifying scenario to an 89-minute feature, one that premiered at Sundance before being snapped up by HBO for a small-screen premiere. It’s a suitable fit, not only because of Bianco’s involvement with the network’s similarly stark teen drama Euphoria, but because it’s a quiet film that works best on a modest canvas. Share would be unfairly marooned on the big screen, fading fast, but a wider TV audience will be able to connect with it, and younger audiences might take away something more substantial. It doesn’t operate as a PSA exactly, but Bianco doesn’t shy away from the responsibility of sharing vital lessons about consent and gender that could prove important for any viewer, but especially prescient for teens.

Bianco zeroes in on the well-observed minutiae of the fallout, from the crushing normalcy of Mandy’s potential rapist still hanging out with her unthinking friends, to the unintentionally callous throwaway lines from those around her. “You’ll forget it. Everyone will,” a male classmate says, without realising the short-sighted idiocy of what he’s saying. Mandy isn’t technically alone – loving parents and a network of friends a merely a text away – but no-one fully understands the horror of what she’s grappling with, and the film works best when showing just how isolated a victim of sexual assault can feel, regardless of privilege or superficial support system. In an effectively understated performance with minimal dialogue, Barreto’s haunted face conveys it all, showing us the already fragile psyche of a teen slowly break down with the glum realisation of how unjust the world around her can be. The system fails her, and so do those she trusts. It’s heartbreaking to see her compute this while also weighing up any perceived responsibility. It’s confusing and overwhelming and Bianco avoids simplification, choosing troubling nuance instead.

Even though Share wraps up within a slim 90 minutes, Bianco does struggle to sustain her premise until the end, especially in the final act, as beats start to feel repeated and our investment starts to waver. It’s less a fault of hers and more of the medium she’s picked: Share would have made for a more controlled and effective hour-long drama, because as a film it buckles under the weight. What her debut does prove for now, though, is that her career is one that’s worth paying attention to, a fiercely wrought calling card for greater things to come.

Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Share review – sobering, sensitive drama focuses on high-school rape | Film

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *