A young woman (Saoirse Ronan) looks down, away from her three-way mirror with a hanging heart strung with ivory white lights. She moves the bracelet on her wrist. It was a gift from husband on their third date.
She stands up, pulling her hair back and gulps, willing herself not to cry.
Their two gray kittens sit on the couch, licking their paws. She and her husband had entered the foyer, earlier in the evening, hand-in-hand, laughing. He danced with her for a minute and they begin to kiss her. He pressed her body against the doorwall, holding onto to her waist. He removed her coat.
She looks in the mirror, grim, her face pale. With a towel, she begins to wipe her makeup off from her forehead.
Taking two wine glasses, she stretches her foot out and he unties the strap of her heel. She sips her wine. He rolls over on the floor, smiling at the kittens.
At the mirror, she takes off the makeup underneath her eye. A dark line is revealed.
Laughing, they kiss on the couch. He brushes her back from her face.
On the vanity, a framed photograph of her kissing her baby boy is by her as she continues to clean her forehead.
She glances at him before she walks into the bedroom as he lies on the couch, rubbing his face.
She dabs her right eye, squinting from the pain. She gets the edges of the maroon bruise. Expressionless, she puts the towel down and looks at herself. She flinches as her husband touches her shoulder. He bends down, kissing her hard goodnight. She puts her hand on his cheek, feeling the pricks of hair from his beard. He kisses her neck and collarbone then leaves.
She faces the mirror again, a tear running down her cheek. Shaking, she stares at her bruise.
She can’t leave. He would take her baby boy from her. He has already threatened that if she divorces him, he will make sure she won’t ever see their child again. He has told her no one would believe her if she told anyone about the bruises. He’s an upstanding member of the community, an entrepreneur who has created jobs for people in the area. She’s a townie slut who is only with him for the status.
At dinner parties and meetings with clients, she’s the silent but supportive wife, gazing at her husband over kale salad as he talks of his accomplishments and explains he’s a family man, which his company values. Family first.
When they kiss, she moans on cue and whispers platitudes he needs to hear. He grabs her hard with his hand and she silences her screams. She wants to tear his hand away from her and yell. But that would only lead to him shouting at her and then punching her.
The bruise is beginning to heal. A week ago, she gently pushed his hand from underneath her skirt. She said not now and he bit her, then hit her in the face. He yelled at her that she’s his to do what he wants. Then, he demanded to know if she was sleeping with someone else.
It has to end. Sometime. It has to. Her little boy can’t hear her screams.
Director: Dearbhla Walsh Year: 2016