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Circle of Lies Movie Review By Bec Stafford
We had the chance to see Matt Cerwen’s Australian independent feature film CIRCLE OF LIES.
This teen/young adult drama centers on an unfolding scandal at the fictional Short Beach High.
The director chose to shoot on location in and around Sydney and the gorgeous coastal settings
make for a visual treat.
Denise (Hilary Caitens) has returned to school, after an unexplained break, to find herself the
victim of vicious rumours. Bitchy Kirsty, (Anna Lawrence), leads a pack of nasty girls in making
Denise’s life hell with relentless bullying and gossip. Kirsty’s boyfriend, Aiden (Ryan Harrison),
once dated Denise and is now torn by conflicting feelings for the girls and the cruel accusations
that are being generated by the school rumour mill.
Relationships in this film aren’t as strongly developed as they could be, resulting in it being a
little difficult for an audience to really engage and empathise with the central characters. That
said, this is an accurate depiction of bullying and victimisation in the age of instant
communication and social networking. There are some nice sequences depicting the disturbing
virality of modern gossip and just how quickly and absolutely it can destroy reputations.
Bullying is a theme that needs to be discussed and confronted, and Circle of Lies effectively
demonstrates the ugly pack mentality and how isolating and damaging gossip and rumour can be.
Weak performances from some of the supporting cast are balanced by strong leads. Hilary
Caitens brings a believable vulnerability to her role as the harassed Denise, and Anna Lawrence
makes for a ferocious alpha female as Kirsty. Genevieve Morris, most noted for her comedic
work, is great in this serious role as the school principal.
Some graphic sex scenes ensure that this film lands squarely in the MA15+ category. At the end
of the film, the filmmakers have also included a link to the mental health organisation, Reach
Out. In a recent interview, producer Steve Jaggi discusses Reach Out’s contribution to the film’s
authenticity.
Question #1
The author's overall judgment of the film is that the movie features an unfolding scandal
involving Denise (Hilary Caitens), who has returned to school after a break. Essentially, Denise
becomes a victim of circumstances, and she has to fight all manner of accusations thanks to the
school rumor mill.

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Circle of Lies Movie Review By Bec Stafford We had the chance to see Matt Cerwen’s Australian independent feature film CIRCLE OF LIES. This teen/young adult drama centers on an unfolding scandal at the fictional Short Beach High. The director chose to shoot on location in and around Sydney and the gorgeous coastal settings make for a visual treat. Denise (Hilary Caitens) has returned to school, after an unexplained break, to find herself the victim of vicious rumours. Bitchy Kirsty, (Anna Lawrence), leads a pack of nasty girls in making Denise’s life hell with relentless bullying and gossi ...
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