BritFlicks' Jane Foster reviews Lavinia Simina's ACCEPTABLE DAMAGE.
With a beautifully shot opening, which introduces us to what is a completely character driven drama, the audience is in no doubt as to the sincerity of the filmmakers of ACCEPTABLE DAMAGE. What then unfolds is a very sensitively put together film.
This is largely due to the talents of award-winning cinematographer, ‘Simon Rowling,’ whose understanding of story, framing and economy of movement, really turns this urban drama into something good. The work of seasoned editor, ‘Dragos Teglas,’ is also sensitive and punches ACCEPTABLE DAMAGE , into a class way above its budget level, proving again that it’s training and the understanding of story-telling that makes a good film, not budget. The Direction from ‘Lavinia Simina’ is delicate and layered, as she takes us all on the journey, which is so clearly an urban drama designed to speak to many and provoke many debates.
ACCEPTABLE DAMAGE is set around the central character, ‘Katy’, a girl of college age, who has Aspergers Syndrome...
Set around the central character, ‘Katy’, a girl of college age, who has Aspergers Syndrome, the film’s intent is clearly to highlight the pertinent issues that this kind of state brings. Wonderfully played by, ‘Elinor Machen-Fortune’, who has Aspergers in real life, Katy’s mother is ably played by Fiona Whitelaw, who also wrote and produced the film. Earnest and at pains to show all sides of the drama, the film leaves no stone unturned in its exploration of urban life. With a strongly drawn antagonist, ‘Rabbit,’ played superbly by ‘Jack Brett Anderson’, and a love interest played with great sensitivity by ‘Elijah Baker’, the drama walks towards the climax rather than gallops, but all in all, it holds up fine.
However, what really strikes, is the sympathy that the audience not only has for Katy, but for Rabbit, whose dreadful home life engages sympathy...
However, what really strikes, is the sympathy that the audience not only has for Katy, but for Rabbit, whose dreadful home life engages sympathy from the audience just as much. Although there’s a lot of prejudice, fear and misunderstanding about Aspergers and other mild forms of autism, the film does not shirk at showing us about the sort of abuse, and lack of education that leads people to hit out in the way Rabbit does towards Katy. Coming from a very abusive, violent background, Rabbit is so terrified of his Father that his only relief comes from taunting Katy for her condition. Yet inside Rabbit, who cannot even read properly, is far more terrified and emotionally insecure than Katy, who for all her Aspergers has a healthy sense of self-esteem, thanks to her loving, strong Mother. So, perhaps this is the message that the film really conveys to the audience: we are all different, but how we cope with these differences and, whether or not we become healthy, loving, aware, and successful human beings no matter what our disability or differences, is linked to upbringing, as well as education. All in all, a noble first attempt at what is a complex subject from Fiona Whitelaw.
ACCEPTABLE DAMAGE is in selected UK Cinemas now.
The ACCEPTABLE DAMAGE premiere was held at the REGENT STREET CINEMA.
Britflicks attended the packed-out premiere of ACCEPTABLE DAMAGE, which raises awareness about diversity, at the Regent Cinema, in London W1. If you like diversity in your film viewing, this cinema, which first opened its doors in 1848, screens one of the widest ranges of films in London.
Visit: www.regentscinema.com for more info.
Jane A. Foster