The UK has one of the highest rates of self-harm in Europe, with one in four people having purposefully injured themselves at some point in their lives. Although, as 25 Percent - A Confession points out, anyone from the very young to the very old can self-harm, this problem is particularly prevalent in adolescent girls.
John Danbury’s film centres on the trauma of one 14 year-old girl (Imogen Danbury). Through well thought out costume changes, she is able to stand for so much more than one character. From a stereotypical emo teen to a selfie queen, Danbury’s performance brilliantly exemplifies how self-harm is not restricted to just one group. The use of dolls to convey the violence is also very effective in illustrating the severity of the problem without gratuitous gore.
Much like Brooke Trantor’s Yours and Mine [USA, 2018], this film would be useful in a classroom setting, and in fact, the confession is primed to facilitate useful discussions on this difficult subject for both teenagers and adults alike. Although the young protagonist is clearly a fictional character, having someone else openly discuss their issues with mental health is surely a comfort and perhaps a catalyst for others to open up.
While the points made in this film are clearly very important, they do feel a bit repetitive after a while. The short is admirable in its direct approach to such a painful subject, but it could perhaps benefit from being more succinct.
Nonetheless, 25 Percent very effectively brings self-harm to the forefront of concern. It is a well acted and well written film that lingers long after the credits roll.
‘25 Percent - A Confession’ was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.