Austin Film Festival 2014
By Don Simpson | October 27, 2014
Director: Nick Matthews
Writers: Craig Behenna, Nick Matthews
Starring: Mark Leonard Winter, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Sara West, Steve Le Marquand
Travis (Mark Leonard Winter) seems just as troubled as many of the patients whom he treats in the psychiatric ward. As his mental stability breaks down, Travis indulges in alcohol and pills to numb his pain. Revealed in fragments, the backstory exposes Travis’ relationship with one of his patients, Sarah (Sara West). Following Sarah’s sudden death, Travis is riddled with insurmountable guilt. With no support group to assist him, Travis finds himself drawn towards a cult thanks to an alluring young woman, Grace (Tilda Cobham-Hervey). Grace is a kind and gentle soul; most importantly, she seems very content with her life.
Travis is immediately put off by the cult’s leader, Father Jay (Steve Le Marquand). Suspecting that Jay is preying on the troubled and less fortunate, Travis finds himself in direct conflict with Jay’s machismo dogma. Whereas Travis quietly represses his feelings, Jay promotes open expression, often relying on aggression to release built up negativity.
Writer-director Nick Matthews and writer Craig Behenna use One Eyed Girl as a way to observe different approaches to psychiatry, revealing the blurred and codependent line between “therapist” and “patient.” No one in One Eyed Girl is sane or healthy, and while Jay seems to have found successful ways to build confidence in his congregation, he is probably no better equipped to help people than Travis.