Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Kara looks for help
"The distress that Gonthier-Hyndman evokes is not easily forgotten"

The frost is everywhere: in the air, on the concrete, clinging to the wall by which Kara (Karine Gonthier-Hyndman) waits. Everything, even her clothing, reflects its chill in shades of white and grey – all but for a red scarf. In the meat truck, when it arrives, she will be given a red blanket to keep her warm during the operation.

Set in a not-so-distant future where abortion is illegal under all circumstances, Marianne Farley’s Oscar-qualifying short explores the alternatives that desperate people turn to. Kara doesn’t want her pregnancy to end but given her circumstances she feels she has no choice. Because her husband is strongly in favour of the new law, she daren’t tell him what she’s doing, leaving her isolated and vulnerable. Although the people helping her are competent and committed, they can’t offer her the support she really needs. They might not even be able to keep her alive.

Farley, whose Marguerite was nominated for an Oscar in 2019, once again draws out powerful performances from her cast in a work whose nuanced emotional arc makes it much more than a message film. It’s a powerful call for legislators to consider the real impact of measures of this type, but it’s also a intimate, human story. The distress that Gonthier-Hyndman evokes is not easily forgotten. In the quiet moments, she makes us aware that Kara will be carrying it forever.

Beautifully shot even when the impression it makes is grim, Frimas will, in the current climate, send shivers down the spines of many viewers. At just 19 minutes in length, it packs in a lot, and it will seal Farley’s reputation as a director to be reckoned with.

Reviewed on: 28 Oct 2021
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Frimas packshot
A woman goes to desperate lengths to get an illegal abortion.

Director: Marianne Farley

Writer: Marianne Farley

Starring: Karine Gonthier-Hyndman, Chantal Baril, Kent McQuaid

Year: 2021

Runtime: 19 minutes

Country: Canada


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