6.2/10
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40 user 103 critic

Una (2016)

Trailer
1:46 | Trailer

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A woman confronts an older man, her former neighbour, to find out why he abandoned her after they had a sexual relationship.

Director:

Benedict Andrews

Writer:

David Harrower (based on his play "Blackbird")
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruby Stokes Ruby Stokes ... Young Una
Rooney Mara ... Una
David Shields ... Man in Nightclub
Ben Mendelsohn ... Ray
Tara Fitzgerald ... Andrea
Madeleine Brolly Madeleine Brolly ... Courtroom Clerk
Richard Cunningham ... Prosecutor
Gary Finnerty Gary Finnerty ... Truck Driver
Riz Ahmed ... Scott
Maciej Krupianik Maciej Krupianik ... Foreman
Mandy Surridge Mandy Surridge ... Picnic Mum
Xanthe Gibson Xanthe Gibson ... Leah
Ciarán McMenamin ... John
Katie Money Katie Money ... Gemma
Poppy Corby-Tuech ... Poppy
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Storyline

When a young woman unexpectedly arrives at her much-older former lover's workplace, looking for answers, the secrets of their dark past threaten to unravel his new life. What follows is an emotional and unflinching excavation of inappropriate love, with shattering consequences.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Adapted from the play that shocked the world. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 September 2017 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Blackbird See more »

Filming Locations:

Camberley, Surrey, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It is based on the play Blackbird by David Harrower. See more »

Quotes

Una: I don't know anything about you except you abused me.
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Soundtracks

Down by the Water
Written & Performed by PJ Harvey
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User Reviews

 
a tense essay on moral boundaries
25 June 2017 | by CineMuseFilmsSee all my reviews

Conventional genre movies work their magic almost entirely through manipulating stereotypes. But many powerful movies work in reverse: they deconstruct stereotypes to challenge our boundary perceptions. Themes like feminism, racism and nationalism, are regularly pulled apart to see what makes them tick. In recent years, child sexual abuse has been in the spotlight and it is overwhelmingly treated as a moral absolute. However, the film Una (2016) challenges the norm by exploring ambivalences in a case of blatant abuse. In doing so, it places the audience squarely on the judge's bench. Adapted from the acclaimed 2005 stage play Blackbird, this tense drama-thriller explores the moral ambiguities of a criminal act that occurred 15 years ago between 40-year old Ray (Ben Mendelsohn) and 13-year old Una (Mara Rooney). The emotionally immature Ray was obsessed with the lonely and precocious Una over a three-month relationship before having 'consensual' sex with her. By chance, the incident was discovered and he spent four years in jail. Since then he changed his name and has tried to restore his life. Meanwhile Una's world spiralled into an emotional void. Now 28, she has tracked him down and unexpectedly confronts him at the factory where he works. Instead of attacking him for the abuse, she demands to know why he abandoned her after their one night together. They continue talking beyond the factory's closing time, then she tricks another employee to take her to Ray's home where his girlfriend is hosting a party. At this point, the intensity of the factory scenes becomes diluted and the sparring inconclusive. This is an explosive mix of issues, personality and circumstance. The film consists mostly of their verbal sparring about the illegal 'affair' with dialogue ranging from hysterical, passionate to icy cool within an industrial setting that is claustrophobic and alienating. It is beyond Ray's emotional capacity to understand what Una wants, while she vacillates between wanting to restore her juvenile obsession with him and wanting to see him wallow in guilt for his crime. Every time we feel contempt for him, we see a piece of the emotional puzzle indicating human weakness but not evil. Every time we admire Una's determination to hold Ray to account, we see a glimpse of her complicity and manipulation. Mara Rooney and Ben Mendelsohn fill their characters with confusion and remorse. At the same time, they depict genuine emotional connection with each other despite the legal, emotional and moral prohibitions that still frame their lives. Their performances are brilliant. At one level, this film is about the horrendous impact on victims and the abrogation of responsibility that occurs in cases of child sexual abuse. At another, it pulls apart the stereotype of victim and abuser to shed light on how it can happen and its painful aftermath. Some audiences may be repulsed at the level of sympathy shown to the perpetrator and the implicit sharing of responsibility between a juvenile and an adult for what is entirely an adult crime. Others may be shaken by the idea that such crimes may have any moral ambiguity at all. In any case, this is brave and provocative cinema that cuts across the guilt versus innocence binary.


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