By Will Barber Taylor
Lola (Ella Greenwood), a young girl with depression, is forced to form a friendship with Zack (Sani Thabo), a young guy with a genetic illness. They each suffer from conditions which affect their lives in different ways. They will change each other’s stories forever.
Dealing with a debilitating condition can be extremely difficult; particularly when you are at the start of your life and feel as if it will end before it has truly begun. This is a silent struggle that many people across the world fight every day. Yet, it is so rarely portrayed in film in an honest and reflective way. Faulty Roots isn’t like those films – it is honest, funny, engaging and truly moving.
Writer and Director Ella Greenwood’s handle on the subject matter is apparent from the beginning and her deft directorial hand allows for the subtleties of her and the rest of the cast’s performances to shine through. The characters she crafts, particularly Lola and Zack feel real and not stereotypical angsty teens. This ensures that the film is not weighed down with audience preconceptions as to how we think the film should proceed. Greenwood allows us not to view her characters as merely as means to an end but real people who are struggling with complex and life altering conditions.
The performances from the whole cast are wonderfully realised. Greenwood and Sani Thabo’s performances as the main characters are startlingly realistic and bring real authenticity to the production. Sarah Eastwood’s performance as Lola’s mother Susan is equally deserving of praise – her performance is utterly sincere, and she truly gives the impression of a mother desperate to help her daughter.
Faulty Roots is an extraordinarily brave and thoughtful first film from Ella Greenwood. It understands how issues that can be so difficult to tackle can and should be eloquently portrayed on film. It does not seek to preach or ponder but to explain and to tell a story that needs to be told.