Helen marks the astonishing feature debut of the award-winning writer-director team of Molloy and Lawlor. Helen was premiered in the 2008 Edinburgh Festival where the film’s stylish originality received great praise, being described by one critic as ‘the latest sign of a UK art cinema resurgence’. An 18 year-old girl called Joy has gone missing. Helen, a lost young woman is a few weeks away from leaving her care home. Helen is chosen to ‘play’ Joy in a police reconstruction. Joy represents all that was missing form Helen’s life.
Helen is a remarkable film; short and perfectly formed it provides a unique insight into the recreation of the last moments of a murder victim. The crime or the perpetrator is immaterial; instead the film deals with misspent youth and the realisation that for Helen, life does not have much more to offer. Instead she can see her life ahead mapped out clearly, while Joy managed to experience so much more in her relatively short time alive. Taking the lead role in this recreation gives her purpose and a newfound direction. Helen is refreshing in its delivery with Molloy moving the camera slowly, casting detail over static environments and deliberately taking her time. It’s almost a clinical Japanese style and very impressive from a debut director, even astonishing. The film has very little music and maintains an almost eerie, atmospheric silence as Helen loses her grip on reality.