This 1984 film based on a true story won the Australian Best Film Academy Award from the Australian Film Institute. It tells the story of a young female social worker who begins work at a hospital for retarded children, and discovers that some of the psychological problems attributed to these children are incorrect. Proving this to be the case is difficult, however, as it is generally accepted that those who are 'profoundly retarded' cannot communicate, and therefore cannot think.
In the case of Annie O'Farrell, finding a way for her to 'talk', other than speaking or writing, finally shows that she is not only able to think, but is highly intelligent. The battle against the hospital to acknowledge this in a legal sense goes to court, as the psychiatrists try to hide their misdiagnosis.
The score by Simon Walker for this film is unobtrusive, as it gently emphasises the different aspects of the film's emotional degrees. There is the dark, eerie theme that represents the cold, heartless hospital and staff; the dramatic theme that hangs over the children like the spectre of death as it creeps around the wards; and the theme for Annie that at first empathises with her, and later develops into a triumphant concerto-like piece. This last theme finally heralds the vindication of the social worker, the judicial system, and Annie's release from what was tantamount to a jail sentence. This complexly interwoven score is written for string orchestra, harp, percussion and piano.
Notes by Philip Powers © 2004