A young boy struggles to endure his sister’s twisted game and accept his mother’s death

‘Game’ is a psychological thriller from Canadian filmmaker Joy Webster, exploring the development of a child’s struggle to cope with his mother’s death with little support from his divided family. When alone in the forest, Jack creates his own reality. He’d rather play pretend than to accept that his mother is gone, his father neglects him and his sister, Molly, shows him nothing but violence. But when she discovers what he has been hiding under his bed, Jack will have to decide whether to keep playing along, or to put an end to her twisted games once and for all.

The film was made after I had read a news headline that read “Boy, 11, charged with killing 8-year-old girl after she wouldn’t let him play with her puppy”. This happened in Tennessee in the United States in 2015. I started to think about what type of situation a child would have to be in to commit this type of tragedy, and the story evolved from there. While it is a story that developed out of a tragedy that occurred due to lack of gun control, the film’s main goal is not to comment on gun control itself. Rather, its main goal is to show a portrait of a divided family, and the negligence and neglect that leads to a dangerous, and potentially violent, situation.

The film wonderfully captures empathy towards Jack’s struggles, and gives us a better understanding of how he is pushed over the edge. While circling around common themes like gun control, the story never really focuses on that facet, but in an affective way it shows us how easily things can turn wrong in the heat of the moment. An excellent exploration and tension driven piece, with some strong character build ups through delicate subjects.