They say that life changes forever when you become a parent. Gone are the long and quiet evenings, hello sleepless nights. Gone with the fearless moments, hello to insecurity and worrying all day. However, we’re sure that amazing and great time with your child(ren) will make up big time for those scary moments. That was probably what Ellen Pakkies from Lavender Hill in South Africa was hoping, but sadly her life turned out completely different. Based on real life events, Ellen: The Story of Ellen Pakkies tells the incredibly moving story of a torn apart mother on the verge of a breakdown.
It’s not always that you know the ending of the movie right after the begin credits but in this movie, that’s exactly the case. One of the first encounters the audience has with Ellen Pakkies is her turning herself in for the murder of her son Abie. However, it becomes clear immediately that she’s not a vicious and cold blooded killer like you see in other movies. No, she’s incredibly regretful and wants to be sent to prison voluntarily. Thanks to flashbacks, you will see why. After being told Abie was born out of rape and already be a troubled boy, life is becoming even worse for him. Living more out on the street than at home, handling drugs and being expelled from school, Adie has gone off the rails completely. Sadly this also has an enormous impact on his mother and father. Abusing them, stealing from them and threatening them. Things are heating up until one morning when it all just snapped for Ellen.
The story of Ellen Parkies was a very controversial one when it happened in South Africa. Some people believed that she needed to go to prison because she murdered someone in cold blood while others showed more remorse due to the background of the events. Daryne Joshua, who was also in the directors’ chair during Noem My Skollie: Call Me Thief, decided to combine flashbacks with footage from the present and because of that you see the events unraveling slowly but also from different perspectives. All handled with the same amount of respects the events deserve. No signs of bias and just the story as it should be told.
Noting is as special and rare as the bond between a mother and her child, no matter how troubled and dark that connection might be and so that connection is the most important thing in a movie like that. Despite the fact none of the actors are the people who sadly had to face the terrible events, they are doing an amazing job of portraying them on screen. We really feel the grief, sadness and still love for her son but also the anger, rage and fury from Ellen Pakkies thanks to Jill Levenberg, who we also saw in films like Abraham and Uitvlucht. Hearing that you were born out of rape, being surrounded by the wrong friends and coming in contact with drugs when life is turning against you. All this must have been though for Abie and that we clearly see because of Jarrid Geduld (Lina and Leo, 2015 ; Black Sails) in his role as Abie Pakkies. Add performances from Elton Landrew (Number 37 ; Jonathan: Die Movie) as Odneal Pakkies and Clint Brink as Ellen her laywer Adrian Samuels to this movie and you will get a very emotional, gripping and touching film.
We’re a 100% sure that Ellen: The Story of Ellen Pakkies will have an impact on you. It will make you think about if she was right by killing her son or not. It’s a film that will make you shiver and that will stick with you for a long time. All thanks to the incredible emotional story and very captivating acting performances.
Liselotte Vanophem, Just Celebrity Magazine Film and TV Reporter