After coming out of an abusive relationship, a woman tries to piece her life back together again with great difficulty, in the short film The Four Walls of Charlotte Moreland.
Opening with horrific voicemail messages from a man called Hudson, the short film The Four Walls of Charlotte Moreland soon allows the viewers to take a look at the aftermath of what was obviously a damaging relationship for the titular character. Years of being told she isn’t worthy, that she should just kill herself, that she is ugly has taken its toll on Charlotte (Alison Stover). She is no longer the woman she once was. Afraid and now suffering from agoraphobia, Charlotte is desperately in need of help.
She soon finds a helping hand in the form of some strong women. Firstly she visits Dr. Sandri (Jane Dashow) who convinces Charlotte to open up and talk about the past in order to move on and face the future.
After receiving multiple text messages from Hudson when she finally does pluck up the courage to leave her home, Charlotte starts to have a panic attack. Luckily, she meets a kind woman named Gigi (Maggie Wagner), who helps take her mind off things by telling a story about her former husband.
A little later on, when on the phone with her work colleague, a threatening letter is slid under Charlotte’s door. The police are called and Detective Grace Demps (Rissa Davis) visits. Like Charlotte, she too was once in an abusive relationship that involved strangulation and rape.
Then lastly, Charlotte is visited by an old friend called Janine (Bettina Bilger) who, only the previous night, was sexually assaulted in a bar. All the women help Charlotte to move on and take a hold of her life once again.
No men (barring Hudson’s voice which isn’t credited) actually feature in The Four Walls of Charlotte Moreland, and it is performed very well by some capable female actors, especially Stover who convinces as the titular character. We feel her pain, her worries, her fears throughout.
The Four Walls of Charlotte Moreland is a powerful twenty-minute short film. It is made even more powerful by the fact that Alison Stover, who also wrote and co-directed the piece with Joe Benedetto, was actually abused in a previous relationship herself. Something that took years to overcome. Yes, the short is actually based on a true story.
Many women find themselves stuck with an abuser. One who has convinced them they are worthless. If this film does anything, we hope it finds an audience with such women. We hope that it helps them understand that they are not worthless. That they can do better. That there are people who are willing to listen and help. That they do have a future. If The Four Walls of Charlotte Moreland even helps just one person, then I’m sure everyone involved in the short will be happy.
Well shot, with some great performances and an essential message, The Four Walls of Charlotte Moreland is as important a short film that we have seen.