A Mistake 2024

Directed by Christine Jeffs Māhutonga

On the eve of a move towards greater public health data reporting, a medical error throws life into a spin for a respected surgeon and her surgical team; the downward spiral threatening all in her orbit.

Aug 17

ASB Waterfront Theatre

101 minutes Colour / DCP
Suicide, offensive language & content that may disturb



Matthew Metcalfe


Christine Jeffs. Based on the novel by Carl Shuker


John Toon


Paul Maxwell
Christine Jeffs

Production Designer

Gary Mackay

Costume Designer

Kirsty Cameron


Frank Ilfman


Elizabeth Banks
Simon McBurney
Mickey Sumner
Rena Owen
Fern Sutherland


Tribeca 2024


Informed consent. Transparency. Evidence-based care. When sickness or injury strikes, we all want to understand the what, why, and how of our maladies and their proposed treatments. But how do physicians communicate nuance and probabilities when patients and their loved ones crave the certainty of simple answers?

Adapted from Carl Shuker’s Ockham-shortlisted novel of the same name, Christine Jeffs’ A Mistake delves into the complexity of our healthcare system, through the personal lens of a surgical error – at once minor yet with far-reaching implications – in the workday of gifted surgeon Elizabeth Taylor (a finely-tuned performance from Elizabeth Banks). With a hard-won reputation in a male-dominated system, Elizabeth’s cool demeanour is challenged in the face of collegial mistrust, public misunderstanding, and management’s desire to scapegoat as a means of mitigating PR crises.

With a cool colour palette to match both its central character and clinical setting, Jeffs (Rain, Sunshine Cleaning) and her filmmaking team deftly apply an array of production elements to underscore the film’s narrative and character trajectories, maintaining a compelling thread of tension throughout.

It is difficult to remain detached when consequences become personal. As Elizabeth’s steely veneer crumples, we are faced with the question: where does responsibility start and where does it end? — Jacob Powell

A Mistake functions as both an empathetic character study and a thoughtful examination of professional ethics, culpability and forgiveness, showing equal compassion for people on both sides of a devastating situation. It also serves as a welcome reminder of Banks’ sturdy dramatic skills.” — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter