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There are potential spoilers in this review ofConsent, so please read with caution.
We've all had one event in our lives that completely rocked our world. For me, it was probably my grandmother's early and sudden death. Things changed after that. I got angry. I got bitter. I was 13 and didn't understand why someone so close to me had to die, especially in the way she did. And I acted out in ways that changed me as a person. I'd like to think it was the crossover from being a child to becoming an adolescent for me, and thankfully, the anger, bitterness and hurt didn't affect me forever. But in the interim, I went through some dark times that were revisited again in my early 20s, and again now, at age 30. I don't think you ever forget the first death that affects you. It re-affects you as you're exposed to subsequent deaths.
That's basically the premise ofConsent, an indie film directed by Ron Farrar Brown and starring Peter Vack and Troian Bellisario. I'm a fan of off-the-cuff, non-mainstream movies, so I decided to give this one a try. I wasn't disappointed. The entire cast worked together to paint a picture of pain, discomfort, taboo subjects and the beauty within the moments between them.
Consentbegins with the family visiting the grave of their oldest daughter, Samantha (played by Betsey Brown), who committed suicide a few years before. It's unclear at first whether the family still has three children, as Samantha appears as a hallucination to the oldest son, Josh. The three teens fall upon Samantha's grave, laughing inappropriately, which sets the scene for the entire movie. Nothing about this family is normal, and nothing about their grief is, either.
High school senior Josh (played by Peter Vack) is trying to hold himself together while looking after his baby sister, Amanda (played by Troian Bellisario). Josh sees his oldest sister Samantha everywhere, and his grief is palpable in the fact that he can't let her go. She gives him advice on how to deal with everything, most specifically Amanda, a junior in high school, who is spiraling down a dangerous path with an abusive boyfriend. She's reckless and uncaring, and the relationship Josh has with his little sister is one of a close, overprotective brother. They seem a little too close, really, and that's one of the biggest problems -- they are too close to be objective to their situations or to the growing discomfort of their sexuality.
Amanda desperately wants to be loved. I really related to her because I spent my entire time in high school wanting to be loved. I was a closeted bisexual trying to figure out why I liked girls as well as boys and I went through a lot of confusion, anger and hurt. Having just come out of being bullied as a child, I had a low sense of self-worth, and so does Amanda. She chooses one dangerous and questionable situation after another, each time turning to the one constant in her life -- her brother. In fact, he's so constant in his love and protection that the movie takes an uncomfortable and unexpected turn into incest. There's so much pain here, it's like rubbing ground glass on your skin. Everyone comes away bloody and sore, and no one is improved by the experience. But it's beautiful in a way -- the pure desperation on the part of both characters is representative of the high school experience and also of the experience of being traumatized. You can't heal without going through pain, and these characters cross through several rings of fire to discover more about themselves and what this tragedy has done to them.
Perhaps the most interesting dynamic in the movie is between the parents, who are so wrapped up in their grief that they've stopped paying attention to their remaining children. Their mother, lost in a haze of alcohol and anger, is the reflection of Amanda thirty years down the road. Trapped in a life and hell she didn't choose and doesn't want, she ends up completely ignoring her children and engaging in reckless behavior that renders her non-functional. Their father is so far removed from the situation in his own grief and anger at his wife that he, too, can't patch the growing rift in his family and turns to domestic abuse. The cast and crew have said that the movie title,Consent, doesn't refer to consent in a traditional sense -- rather, it's about the unspoken consent the parents have given themselves to ignore their children and wrap themselves up in a tragedy that's taken over their entire lives.
Due to several abuse-related situations in the movie, it's taken me this long to write this review because I needed to process it. It's uncomfortable and triggering. The pain portrayed by the actors is so real that you wonder how long it took them to be able to process the story themselves. But the performances are so good -- the cast throwing themselves into their parts -- that it's not a voyeur-like movie where you sit and watch a family fall apart. You're part of it. You're there when Samantha talks to Josh, who longs to escape the hell he lives in but doesn't know how. You're there when Amanda, bruised and aching, turns to her brother in a fit of desperate passion, longing for someone to tell her she's special. And you're there when the parents, cold to each other and wrapped up in their pain, turn on each other, blaming themselves and knowing their inattentiveness partly caused their oldest child's death.
It's not a movie that's feel-good in any sense of the word, but it is a movie that will stay with you. It explores the beauty in forbidden moments. It shows that gilded cages still hold ugly things. And its sweeping cinematography reminds you that there's moments of peace in the madness -- that the reason that the rest of the family hasn't killed themselves is because they recognize eventually, it has to get better. They're striving for better, which is what keeps you watching this movie. You just want to see them come out of the darkness.
As someone who's walked through a lot of darkness, perhaps the reason I related so much to this movie is because I understand the need to wait for the lifeboats, too. I didn't choose recklessness, but I chose other self-injury. You deal with it until you can't. This is the breakdown of that.
Rebates and efficiencies help residents save energy and cash
It's Earth Day, an annual event that encourages us to remember the environment and our place in it. Good news: By cutting back on your energy and water use, you don't just help conserve resources, you put money back in your pocket — where it belongs. Save Energy Mary Morris was wary when she had to pay for an energy audit of her single-family home in the North Park Hill to qualify for an Xcel rebate. Twelve months later, she's a convert. Since contractor Casey Staley from REenergizeCO completed an energy audit on her home, which was built in 1948, and performed subsequent improvements last spring, Morris has saved $438 on her energy bill. That's in addition to Staley finding $1,100 in rebates for a $3,800 project. "For $2,700, we got the audit, our duct work in the attic sealed with flexible mastic, and I could sense an improvement in the air quality within 24 hours," she says. With that money Morris also insulated the attic as well as a 1,700-square-foot main floor that included a large sun room, and weatherized a nearly 1,500-square-foot "bomb bunker" basement, where Staley added a threshold to her energy-sucking boiler room. The money also went toward purchasing an energy-efficient dishwasher. Staley, who's a vetted contractor through Xcel and Denver Energy Challenge, works to make sure his clients receive all rebates possible. He says residents are often unaware of how much money they can save on up-front costs. He added that residents who performed home improvements saw additional savings in their tax returns this year through a federal credit. "That tax credit is 10 percent," he said. "If the work is $4,000, you're getting $400 back from the (feds)." Morris, who received around $300 back from the tax credit this year, looks forward to a summer where her air conditioner will keep her home at a comfortable 71 degrees. "My husband says the sign of a civilized life is when you're warm in the winter and cool in the summer," she says. "And I agree." Energy-efficiency resources
• Find a rebate through Xcel Xcel offers qualified Colorado residents rebates on home improvements ranging from heating and cooling to insulation and weatherization. xcelenergy.com • Denver Energy Challenge If you're a Denver resident having trouble navigating rebates, Denver Energy Challenge offers free advising services. They'll connect you to approved contractors, and review bids. They also help with applications for low-interest energy loans. denverenergy.org • Boulder EnergySmart This service provides Boulder residents with free phone advising on home improvements. If you've had a home energy audit, their services are free. If not, for $90 they will do the audit and pair you with an energy adviser. energysmartyes.com Short-term solutions
• Replace traditional incandescent lights with energy-efficient ones According to the Department of Energy, replacing 15 traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs like compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, saves $50 a year. CFLs last 10 times longer and can pay for themselves in savings in less than nine months. • Set your refrigerator and freezer to optimal temperatures Xcel recommends setting your refrigerator between 34 and 37 degrees and your freezer at 5 degrees for optimal energy performance. • Monitor your thermostat The DOE recommends setting your thermostat
at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 in the summer. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat and save $180 a year.
Rebates and efficiencies help residents save energy and cash
WEMBLEY, England (AP) — The final phase of goal-line technology tests will begin this month before soccer’s rule-makers make a definitive decision in July, FIFA said Sunday after another high-profile controversy.
Chelsea reached the FA Cup final with a 5-1 victory over Tottenham, with replays indicating that Juan Mata’s shot never crossed the line for Chelsea’s second goal.
The International Football Association Board, the game’s rule-making body, last month approved two systems to go into a second round of testing in match scenarios before either can be sanctioned for use in competitive fixtures at a meeting July 2.
“The latest planning meeting for test phase two was held on Friday, and the second phase of tests will commence before end of April, and will continue throughout May,” FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press.
IFAB must be satisfied with the speed and accuracy of Hawk-Eye or GoalRef before high-tech aids for referees can be deployed in football for the first time.
Sony Corp.’s Hawk-Eye is a camera-based ball-tracking system successfully deployed in tennis and cricket. GoalRef, owned by a German-Danish company, uses a magnetic field with a special ball.
Both systems send a signal within a second of the ball crossing the line to the referee, who will retain the power to make the final call.
In Sunday’s game at Wembley Stadium, television replays quickly indicated that Mata’s shot at the start of the second half didn’t cross the line when it was bundled clear by Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who was lying on the turf on the goal line in a scramble.
“It was nowhere near the line,” Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker said. “I had a perfect view. Four players were covering the line, so how the ball could’ve got over the line, I don’t know. The linesman said he didn’t make the decision. The ref took it upon himself.”
Martin Atkinson, the FIFA-accredited referee who awarded the goal, will be one of UEFA’s goal-line assistants for Howard Webb at the June 8-July 1 European Championship.
Even Chelsea players later accepted their second goal should not have been given when they were leading 1-0 in the semifinal.
“We’ve been calling for goal-line technology for a very long time,” Chelsea defender John Terry said. “Let’s hope that people make the right decisions (on approving it).”
FIFA’s support for goal-line technology had wavered until a high-profile blunder at the 2010 World Cup involving Terry’s England convinced President Sepp Blatter that any further embarrassments had to be avoided at major tournaments.
A shot by Chelsea’s Frank Lampard in a game against Germany at the World Cup in South Africa bounced off the crossbar and landed beyond the goal line but did not count as England was knocked out of the competition.
FIFA is hopeful one of the systems will be ready for use at the Club World Cup in December in Japan, but the Premier League hopes it could fast-track technology into its 20 grounds before the new season starts in July.
The disputed goal at Wembley on Sunday revived memories of a famously controversial goal there in the 1966 World Cup final between England and Germany.
They were drawing 2-2 in extra time when Geoff Hurst’s shot struck the underside of the crossbar, bounced down and spun back into play. That time, the referee consulted his linesman, who awarded the goal for England. Hurst went on to score a third goal as England won 4-2.
For a change to the rules to be approved, six votes are required on IFAB, which is comprised of the four British associations plus four FIFA delegates.