Una is an adaption of the play Blackbird, written by David Horrower. Two major challenges were faced by director Benedict Andrews when creating the movie: transforming a theater play into a movie without losing its character, and dealing sensibly with the topic of sexual abuse. Andrews’ directing made it feasible for the audience to understand the complexity of the characters and built the essence of the movie with his style.
Una is the story of a young woman reaching out to the men who abused her as a teenager. Andrews presents the storyline through flashbacks, which made the audience slowly grasp the nature of their relationship. Una comes to Ray’s office having not seen him for fifteen years, he goes through a moment of shock when he sees her and doesn’t accept her sudden return in his life. While mentally balancing their past and present, Una’s purpose for seeing Ray becomes unclear. We understand the relationship was more of a love affair than sexual abuse.
Indeed, as she lets love appear in her discourse, we can see that she is trying to figure out if he is still attracted by her. To support this confusion, Benedict Andrew moves from past to present with long shots that slowly transform the movie into a melancholy. He fixes the camera on her as a thirteen year-old that developed a sense of sensuality with her long hair, but Una, even as a grown woman, still has that same long hair. This element poses a contrast between Ray, since he has moved on with his life, and her, as she stayed in the same place as she was fifteen years ago. Thus we can clearly see that she is devoured by anger, not because he abused her but because she was in love with him and he left her to live with the consequences of their relationship. Andrews created a certain elegancy to this movie by not shooting any inappropriate moments. This style contributed to the audience’s shift towards the acceptance of the character’s relationship.