In one of those strange coincidences this is the second film in the last few weeks that centres on Jehovah’s Witnesses and how their beliefs shape their decisions. Unlike The Children’s Act, this is a much more thorough examination of the subject. Ivana (Siobhan Finneran) is a single mum raising two girls in the faith. The youngest, Alex (Molly Wright) is just turning 18 and is very devout. She also suffers from anemia and knows that a refusal to accept a blood transfusion could prove fatal one day. Her older sister, Luisa (Sacha Parkinson) falls pregnant and she is dissociated by the religion’s elders.
Writer/director Daniel Kokotajilo is an ex Jehovah’s Witness and he brings a rare insight into the strange religious cult. Shot in muted greys and greens, this is a very sombre piece that confronts their cruel practices head on. It avoids sensationalism a role and tells the story in a measured way. The performances are all excellent. Finneran is a very reliable television performer and is very good here. Wright also impresses in a part that could, in lesser hands, could have been very two-dimensional.
There is little levity and some viewers may find it unremittingly grim but it is also a thought provoking glimpse into a little seen world.
Rating: 8 out of 10