Talk It Out


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Talk It Out
"The overall standard of acting from the young cast is impressive."

Not so long ago, it used to be argued that children didn't experience mental health problems as severely as adults do. Getting help and support into schools has been a slow process, highly dependent on teachers being willing to volunteer their time - and of course, after school support groups run by earnest teachers are pretty much the nadir of cool as far as most teenagers are concerned. Talk It Out explores how such a project might actually gain traction, and why that matters.

Made by pupils at St Paul's High School in Glasgow, this film has the rough edges you'd expect from a first time production but it does well in notoriously difficult technical areas like sound. The overall standard of acting from the young cast is impressive, though one poor boy really has his work cut out for him trying to convince as a teacher when he's only 15. There are some strong ideas thrown into the story, notably in a sequence where a boy is taunted by embodiments of the voices in his head, creating a parallel with bullying which many sufferers will relate to. The film doesn't spend too much time on actual bullying, but there is some focus on young people's attempts to look out for each other, a rarer and equally interesting topic.

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The writing and direction here are not strong enough to keep it feeling realistic throughout but the naturalism of the performances helps a lot. Individual issues are handled well, with a surprisingly light touch. There's a girl struggling with anorexia, a boy who seems depressed and anxious, another girl who can't control her temper. Everyday school issues illuminated by a different perspective. The film would work better if they were situated in the context of more general school life, but it packs a lot into its short running time as it is.

Though very much an issue film with a naturally limited reach, Talk It Out addresses those issues effectively in as far as it goes, and speaks well of the young team behind it.

Screening at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival as part of Youth Perspective.

Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2016
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A teacher setting up an after-school support group prompts young people to think differently about mental health issues.

Director: Kate Burton

Year: 2015

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: UK



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