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The Silent Treatment: Film Review

Director, Steven Lancefield, outlines the familiar pattern of domestic abuse in his short film, The Silent Treatment. Without dialogue, writer Keith Large weaves a story about Jayia, a hairdresser and her alcoholic partner, Nick. Nick helicopters around Jayia’s personal and professional life invading sacred spaces as a brooding force only to apologize with dinner and flowers in subsequent scenes.


Though the film has no dialogue, Rita Jagpal-Mohan as Jayia still gives it her all, accurately communicating fear and anguish through her performance. Jeff Tideswell as Nick, the abuser, makes us feel unease, appearing both tightly wound and unapologetic.


Rita Jagpal-Mohan as Jayia

The film is shot with simple lighting and location setups, which goes to show you don’t need a big budget and lots of dialogue to communicate a story. Moreover, these characters feel like everyday people, not just heightened melodrama, which audiences may find relatable.


Though at times the score does overtake the film, it does also help add to character including tension for when Nick enters a room, or when Jayia feels anxiety over Nick’s presence. Each character has a sound cue throughout the film that seems to exemplify who they are.


Jeff Tideswell as Nick

The most important and impactful part of The Silent Treatment is its message. The film touches on the sensitive topic of domestic abuse with grace and understanding. It hints at it subtly without being indulgent. Oftentimes films about abuse are too hard to watch because they are so graphic, but The Silent Treatment manages to refer without being explicit.


For someone perhaps looking to bring up domestic abuse to younger children or the workplace, a film like The Silent Treatment could be used as an educational tool to spread empathy and understanding on what a cycle of abuse looks like.

The cast and crew of The Silent Treatment


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