What lifts cinematographer Menges' directorial debut above the worthiness of most anti-apartheid movies is the child's viewpoint. Like Maisie in What Maisie Knew, 13-year-old Molly (May) is walled off from much of the high passion of the adult world, but a casualty of the fallout. With her communist father (Krabbé) on the run, and her liberal journalist mother Diane (Hershey) totally preoccupied with the struggle against apartheid, Molly is resentful about her loveless and lonely upbringing. When Diane - whose involvement with the banned ANC brings down the brutality of the South African police on their comfortable white Johannesburg suburb - is imprisoned under the 90 Day Detention Act, Molly's schoolfriends ostracise her; meanwhile, subjected to intense psychological pressure driving at her maternal guilts, released and immediately imprisoned again, Diane attempts suicide. Few cause-movies point out how uncomfortable martyrs are to live with, and few stars are prepared to play them that way, but Hershey does. Intelligent, unsensational, and painful, it's a film to applaud.
Cast and crew