Drama, 1 hr 45 min
Log line: Yes, we are all “incomplete” but in the very best possible way.
This film is like a balm for the soul…
I believe that films, when done well, can offer a very important escape from the trials and tribulations of our lives as well as give us an opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. T11 Incomplete does just that. This is a deceptively simple story of a personal care aide who walks the poverty line so direly that the soles of her shoes are broken and that she resorts to stealing from those she cares about. Meanwhile, we have a paraplegic young lady who cannot walk at all, fighting her own inner battles having lost the life and love she had. It is through the eyes of these 2 characters and their journey of love and discovery together that make T11 Incomplete feel like an insightful and captivating look into seemingly ordinary suburban American life.
Written and directed by Suzanne Guacci, T11 Incomplete introduces viewers to Kate Murphy (Karen Sillas) who is a middle-aged woman, working as a home health aide, and living alone with only a cat for company. It soon transpires that she is struggling to make ends meet, that she has a fractured relationship with her son, and sadly her cat is dying. She has a loving relationship with her grandson, but that too may be in jeopardy from her son’s inhibitions. Then we have Laura (Kristen Renton) who is termed “T11 Incomplete” for the injury to her spine as a result of a car crash that renders the bottom half of her body paralysed. It’s been 4 years since her accident but Laura’s heart-ache and loss is still visible and as with many remarkable people, she puts up a strong front and wishes “gin & tonic” would help.
There is a lot of symbolism in this film but it is subtle and understated, much like the acting and storytelling. To get the most out of watching T11 Incomplete one has to enjoy and have an appreciation for smaller details that have been beautifully captured on screen and in the script. Sometimes the most difficult performances are the quiet ones and Karen Sillas plays this to perfection. The quiet desperation behind her eyes, the tremble in her hands as she dares to touch another person romantically for the first time in a long time, and the heart-felt plea to forgive her son for his wrong-doings as she blames herself for his faults – are just a few impressive examples. The fact that MK the cat was rescued from a dumpster, further highlights how a better life can unfold despite arising from unfortunate circumstances. There is irony in that Kate went from washing the dishes of the somewhat overly aggressive and intolerant Steve (Colin Bates), Laura’s overprotective brother, to then find herself washing dishes for a local diner; like she is in a vicious cycle of disrepair with no end in sight.
Yet, by the end things may be looking up as Laura helps Karen (and the audience) see that good people can make bad decisions and Karen appears to break out of her downhill struggle enough to go into “the water” – representing a step into vulnerability and the unknown, which is a brave and challenging feat for anyone. T11 Incomplete may not show a spectacular or extraordinary journey but brings to light what are often invisible battles and deep-seated emotions that can be so much more interesting than what we see on the surface.
I have always appreciated storytellers that dare to look deeper into a person’s character to examine the multiple layers that make up a person and their decisions. I feel that stories such as this one can make a profound impact on opening up an audience’s perspective; to tap into empathy and compassion for others. Positive representation for all walks of life, from the able-bodied to the disabled, to the LGBTQ+ community, is so very important and I thank the creators and cast of this film for doing a stellar job of it. This film is like a balm for the soul. It recognises that nothing is black and white, that people are not simply good or bad, and that we all have layers and stories to tell which we would do well to notice and appreciate.
Watch the trailer
This article was written by:
Reviewer & Writer
Ping believes in the power of love and kindness, and that "love is love" no matter what shape or form it comes in. She would like to see positive representation for all walks of life in film and media.