Controversial subject matter in films isn’t new. A lot of “grittier” films seem pretty keen to cover difficult subjects on a near-constant basis but commonly certain major topics are handled so badly it becomes rather offensive to those affected by whatever issue is covered. Films like The Next Best Thing, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1, Crossroads and War Room are classic examples of filmmakers who decided to tackle major issues and failed in rather spectacular fashion. The more aware of film audiences may notice that a lot of the issues that are covered poorly in films are either issues that largely affect women including domestic abuse, rape and self-empowerment. It’s not even just on film: the way news & print media cover particular topics can be crass at best and sensationalist at worst. How in the Western world that’s supposedly progressive and free can certain topics be so poorly portrayed? Perhaps a film with a more intellectual approach may help guide the way. A documentary, perhaps, from Canada called Hush.
Hush is a documentary from Indo-Canadian film maker Punam Kumar Gill that explores an issue many are incredibly uncomfortable to discuss: abortion. One may look at that sentence and immediately become put-off and assume it has either a pro-Life or pro-Choice ideology that it wants to push. In reality? It does neither. Gill spends the film going for a more informative approach to get all the facts about abortion out there without the veil of an agenda. There’s a lot of quite challenging information that comes out about the subject from a variety of medical experts considering a lot of factors that could come into play with this issue. To present that data without veering into the emotive side of the abortion debate is not easily. Hush tends to do this quite well whilst maintaining an emotional aspect where it belongs: in the personal stories from women who’ve encountered the topics raised in their own ways.
Hush has a very structured flow to it with every segue from one topic to another flowing very nicely. There are repeated visual motifs such as close-ups and use of footage from certain medical conferences that give the film a consistent pace. If there was one gripe it was the use of slow motion. During a couple of moments the use of slow motion it made a degree of sense but having it every 5 minutes in a film that’s around 100 minutes long is somewhat annoying. It stops becoming evocative and becomes almost gratuitous. A lot of the shots that use slow motion would’ve benefited from either shots with regular motion or still shots. In the interest of full disclosure, I have an aversion to excessive slow motion since watching one too many music videos that all use slow motion that seem to use it more than a type 1 diabetic injects themselves with insulin. This issue can make the documentary a little distracting visually which is a shame considering how major the film is.
Ultimately, this is a film that definitely needs seeing but it cannot be stressed enough that this is not an easy documentary to watch. It’s unapologetic in its journey to find out as much knowledge as possible and lift the veil on an often dismissed topic. This is not a film about the morality of abortion. This is a very different and new conversation piece that, at the very least, deserves a listen.
HUSH IS AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE NOW