FILM REVIEW: THINGS NEVER SAID

By Teryl Warren

 

 

At a recent screening of his new film Things Never Said, writer-director Charles Murray was asked what inspired him to make a film about a young wife and victim of domestic violence. His candid response was that his own mother and father had a history of domestic violence.

Shanola Hampton

Featuring a cast of rising stars led by Shanola Hampton (Shameless), Omari Hardwick (Sparkle) and two-time Obie Award-winner Charlayne Woodard, Things Never Said chronicles the struggle of one woman to grow beyond the pain and shame of abuse and find her voice through poetry.

Audiences will no doubt be captivated by Shanola Hampton’s passionate portrayal of Kalindra Stepney, and Omari Hardwick turns in an award-worthy performance as a complex and conflicted leading man.

Supporting performances by industry veteran Michael Beach (Waiting to Exhale, Soul Food) and Elimu Nelson as Kalindra’s husband Ronnie - the anguished embodiment of a dream deferred – round out the talented cast.

 

Shot in 20 days with locations in Los Angeles and New York, the character-driven film is, as Murray described, a poignant and emotional journey toward self-discovery for both victim and abuser, alike.

“The film’s title is just as much about him as it is about her,” Murray told us. ”I think when we leave Ronnie, he’s expressed more to Kalindra than he has in a long time. He sees himself in a way that he probably never seen himself before. “

While doing research for the film, Murray delved deeply into the generational history of domestic violence that often plagues families.  “A lot of parents who are abused don’t discuss it with their children because they’re dealing with their own shame of being abused and they’re embarrassed by the abuse that goes on.”

We see this sentiment echoed in the film in the strained relationship between Kalindra and her mother. Among the things never said between them is the depth to which the abuse her mother suffered may have contributed to Kalindra’s own struggle.

“A lot of times, people don’t make the connection of domestic violence occurring from one generation to another. They think it’s just happening to them,” Murray said.  ”But when they pull back and see a wider point of view, they realize they saw something somewhere [in their past] that made it seem like it was okay.”

Shanola Hampton simply lights up the screen in Things Never Said, and her velvety voice seems to have been made precisely for the dialogue and poetry that punctuate Charles Murray’s script. She is, all at once, siren, muse, madonna and child.

Omari Hardwick

As Kalindra’s  poetry evolves from a coping mechanism to professional ambition, we see her personal evolution into complete and uncompromising womanhood. Her journey to find her voice is a bitter fight for her very survival – and she bears the scars to prove it.

Writer-Director Charles Murray’s evolution began  at an early age – when he penned his first script at the tender age of 12. He wrote the script for Things Never Said in only a month. Currently a writer on the hit FX series “Sons of Anarchy,” Murray credits his 12 years in television for preparing him to shoot on the types of short production schedules that are characteristic of independent filmmaking.

From its provocative poetry to its seductive soundtrack and cinematography, the sophistication and artisty of  Things Never Said is not often seen in low-budget independent films.  But if there’s one word in the English language that Charles Murray shys away from, it’s artist.

“Writers that I admire talk about the craft.  For them, it’s all about getting better at the craft, and you leave it to others to decide if you’re an artist or not. “

“I like to see myself as a craftsman –  as someone constantly learning and getting better at his craft. I can tell you 99 reasons I shouldn’t be here in Hollywood, but I can’t tell you one reason why I should.  I constantly try to improve my craft and I don’t excuse myself from that path.”

Things Never Said will screen next at the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival April 18-21 and at the Roxbury International Film Festival June 27 – 30.

And as for its filmmaker the plan, of course, is to make more films.

“It took 10 years to get this film made. Now, I’m trying to figure out a film that I can make in my off- time. My goal is to always be fiscally responsible in my film-making and stick to topics I’m interested in.”

For more information about the cast and crew, please visit Things Never Said.com

You can also “Follow” the film on Twitter: @tnsmovie

Or “Like” it on Facebook

 

Leave A Comment