Director: Tori Garrett
Screenwriter: James Greville, Stephen Roche, Anne Brooksbank and Ursula Cleary
Runtime: 110 mins
Australian release date: 9 May 2017
Previewed at: Sony Pictures Theatrette, Sydney on 9 May 2107
Based on a true story, a ground-breaking 2001 court case, Don’t Tell is a brilliant portrayal of triumph over evil. Tori Garrett’s debut feature film follows the case of a young woman, Lyndal (Sara West), who was the victim of sexual abuse by a boarding master, Kevin Guy (Gyton Grantley), at her prestigious Toowoomba Preparatory School. Lyndal was only 11-years-old when the abuse commenced and it took another 11 tormented years before she would return to her Queensland home to face the demons that had been haunting her ever since.
There she engaged local lawyer Stephen Roche (Aden Young), who was initially reluctant to come on board because he’d recently lost a similar case plus he had doubts about the troubled Lyndal’s strength of purpose. He changed his mind, however, when he formed the opinion that Lyndal was indeed strong enough to take on the might of the Anglican Church (who ran the school and who believed that the case against them ended with Kevin Guy’s suicide 11 years earlier) and learnt that she had the professional support of her therapist, Joy Conolly (Rachel Griffiths). Roche joined forces with young colleague Jodie Collins (Ashlee Lollback) and seasoned barrister Bob Myers (Jack Thompson), together comprising a formidable team determined to take on the weight of the Anglican Church establishment, represented in court by barrister Jean Dalton (Jacqueline McKenzie).
The court room scenes are particularly well structured, as is James Greville, Ursula Cleary and Anne Brooksbank’s script, adding authenticity to Roche’s first-hand account of the ghastly events. Don’t Tell is one of the best Aussie films of the year and is a fine platform for portraying the depth of Australian movie-making talent. It tells an important story that is topical to this day.