Things Behind the Sun
2001 | Showtime, An Echo Lake Productions/Sidekick Entertainment Production
Things Behind the Sun is an intense story of a teenage rape and its devastating consequences. Based on the experiences of filmmaker Allison Anders and written by Anders and Kurt Voss, the film presents the raw brutality of rape, which not only scars its victims but also haunts its perpetrators and those who stood by. Brought to the screen by Executive Producers Gary Barkin, Peter Wetherell, Marla Grossman and Joseph Rice and Producers Daniel Hassid, Doug Mankoff and Robin Alper, the film tells the story of Singer/Songwriter Sherry McGrale, a self-destructive alcoholic experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome resulting from her rape. Sherry is brilliantly portrayed as an adult by Kim Dickens and as a youngster by Brittany Finamore. Equally exceptional is Don Cheadle’s performance as Sherry’s supportive manager and ex-boyfriend, Chuck, who tries to help her but can only stand by in frustration as she continues her downward spiral. The film’s intensity increases when a journalist for a rock magazine, Owen, played by Gabriel Mann, begins a major profile of Sherry and the band. A new layer of the story unfolds as Owen’s role as a bystander in Sherry’s rape and his subsequent guilt about that role emerge. Prison scenes featuring one of the rapists, Owen’s brother Dan, played by Eric Stoltz, are especially forceful. Details of the rape and the lives of others involved surface in painful flashbacks involving a much younger Dan, played by Justin de Prume, and the teenage Owen, played by Owen Butler. Underscoring the film is a rich musical subtext that reflects the emotions of characters struggling toward some personal sense of closure to events that have marked each of them. For this searing exploration of rape and its never-ending consequences, a Peabody Award goes to Showtime and An Echo Lake Productions/Sidekick Entertainment production for Things Behind the Sun.