Newcomer Sara West gives a gripping performance in the true story of the young Australian woman whose courageous testimony uncovered systemic cover-ups of sexual abuse by the Anglican church.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
This impressive debut feature honours the courage and tenacity of Lyndal, the young Queensland woman who in 2001 blew the whistle on the Anglican church’s decade-old cover-up of sexual assaults at the prestigious Toowoomba Preparatory School. Traumatised by her abuse, Lyndal was further shaken by the school’s dogged loyalty to the perpetrator, who had confessed to other abuses. She sought relief in public acknowledgement of her suffering, but during the civil case in which she testified she was subjected to relentless condescension and character assassination. This, however, led to a revolution in child protection in Australia and also brought down a governor-general, Peter Hollingworth, who had been the Anglican archbishop of Brisbane at the time of the abuse.
The film is a passion piece for its director and for Lyndal’s attorney Stephen Roche (played in the film by Aden Young), who wrote a book about the case. The backing of a stellar cast – including Rachel Griffiths, Jack Thompson, Jacqueline McKenzie and Susie Porter – was instrumental in getting the film made. In a raw emotional performance as Lyndal, Sara West stands tall in their company.