Film Reviews

Review: ‘Audrie and Daisy’

Hot Docs 2016

Daisy speaks out.
Courtesy of Hot Docs


Audrie & Daisy
(USA, 95 min.)
Dir. Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen
Programme: Special Presentations (International Premiere)

Just after I saw Audrie & Daisy, I met a woman who is writing a novel based on the story of a high school girl who made a porn video in the school bathroom, and when it started circulating, killed herself. Audrie & Daisy tells similarly pathetic stories about two teenage girls encouraged into drunken stupors, sexually assaulted, and then subjected to shaming because their rapes were photographed, filmed, and posted. “They took pictures, my life is over,” Audrie wrote on Facebook.

Audrie & Daisy is an accomplished film loaded with novelistic detail about the girls, their families, and the boys who betrayed them. Audrie killed herself while Daisy tried to several times, but survived. At one point, Daisy’s pencil drawings of her trauma turn into charcoal-style animation that plays out scenes from her memory. In both stories, home video and photos, including baby pictures, contrast painfully with an ugly present tense.

It’s normal for teenage boys to be horny. But the film makes you wonder why their sexual craving gets so mixed up with sadistic actions like drawing “nasty things” on an unconscious girl’s body, things like an arrow pointing toward her anus, and the word “harder.” The doc also conveys the weird interface between sex that brutalizes rather than loves, and social media culture.

Audrie & Daisy screens:
-Tuesday, May 3 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 6:45 PM
-Wednesday, May 4 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 10:00 PM
-Sunday, May 8 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 3:30 PM

Please visit the POV Hot Docs hub for more coverage on this year’s festival.

Hot Docs runs April 28 – May 8. Visit www.hotdocs.ca for more information.

Maurie Alioff writes about movies for publications off- and on-line, and is a screenwriter currently collaborating on a documentary featuring Bob Marley’s granddaughter while researching other Jamaica-related projects, including a magical-realist crime story drawing on stories he hears on the island. He has written for radio, journals and TV, taught screenwriting and been a contributing editor to various magazines.

View all articles by Maurie Alioff »