- Country: United States
- Initial release: October 2019
- Film Director: Kevin M Turner
- Running Time: 18 Minutes
- IMDB Grade: 7.3
Have you ever experienced the overwhelming urge to cry out for help, only to find yourself unable to make a sound? Have you ever felt a deep sense of loneliness even when surrounded by a crowd of people? These are the emotions at the heart of the powerful short film, “Hear Me”, directed by Kevin M Turner. In this film, we follow the journey of Kennedy Blythe, a young teenager portrayed by the talented Eden Helston, as she navigates the remnants of childhood trauma and the struggle to find her voice.
A Silent Scream for Help
Kennedy, to the outside world, appears to be a typical high-achieving student. She excels academically and is accepted into prestigious colleges. However, her path to success becomes complicated when she realizes that all the best colleges require interviews. And Kennedy, due to her selective mutism, is unable to speak. The film takes us on a journey through flashbacks, gradually revealing the source of Kennedy’s trauma and her struggle to overcome it.
Seeking Help and Finding Progress
As the interview date approaches, Kennedy is determined to find a way to overcome her silence. She turns to her theater coach, played by Tara Haner, for guidance and support. Over the course of several weeks, Kennedy experiences both progress and setbacks in her journey. Every step forward is hard-won, and every stumble reminds her of the weight of her past. Through it all, Kennedy is haunted by the trauma that has shaped her life.
Incremental Progress and Empathetic Help
Kennedy’s progress is slow and incremental. She faces challenges and setbacks, often faltering at crucial moments. However, the film beautifully portrays the consequences of these setbacks and the impact of empathetic help in building her up, block by block. One notable aspect of “Hear Me” is the absence of fast cuts and stylized montages, allowing the audience to fully immerse themselves in the rawness of Kennedy’s journey.
Cinematography and Performance
While the cinematography by Christopher McCullah is passable, it does not go beyond its functional purpose. The shots occasionally suffer from an abruptness that suggests the editor is still finding their footing. However, Eden Helston delivers a subdued and nuanced performance, perfectly capturing the essence of Kennedy’s character. In a clever move by the director, Kennedy’s hair becomes a symbolic representation of her progress, subtly reflecting her growth throughout the film. Tara Haner also shines in her role as the empathetic yet firm theater coach.
A Filmmaker with a Vision
Writer and director Kevin M Turner demonstrates his clear vision and understanding of his intentions with “Hear Me”. The film is well-paced, allowing the story to be fully fleshed out in its 24-minute runtime. The conclusion feels earned and believable, as it stays true to the realistic nature of the healing process. Rather than opting for dramatics, Turner showcases the slow and arduous journey of healing, reminding us that healing takes time.
A True-to-Life Exploration of Trauma and Healing
What sets “Hear Me” apart is its commitment to portraying trauma and the hearts of those who live with it in an authentic and honest manner. The film sheds new light on the effects of trauma and the resilience of individuals who struggle to heal. While it may have its weak moments, the film’s integrity and dedication to telling a true-to-life story make up for any shortcomings. “Hear Me” is a must-watch for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of trauma and the healing process.