Keira Knightley stars as a domestic abuse victim in an public service announcement for the British charity Women’s Aid. The segment begins with Keira looking like she’s leaving a film set to return to a luxury apartment, where she finds a mirror broken and blood on the floor. Her boyfriend approaches with a cut on his hand, and asks her in a snide tone “How was he today, your leading man?” and if it felt “real,” and she answers “it’s my job.” He then shoves a towel in her face, and Keira turns to the camera saying “We didn’t agree to that, that wasn’t in the script.”
Keira is shoved down to the floor, her hair is pulled and she’s kicked repeatedly while the camera pans back to show that she’s still on a film set. Text comes on screen “Isn’t it time someone called cut?” as we continue to watch the abuse. Seeing Keira beaten on a film set is unsettling and it makes you question your role as observer to domestic abuse and when you should step in help a friend in that situation. You want to save Keira and she is convincing and vulnerable even as she plays herself, a strong and capable actress.
The film was directed by Joe Wright, the director of Atonement, with cinematography by Seamus McGarvey, also of Atonement. Over 50 people worked on this PSA, all donating their time for free.
The horrific Rihanna and Chris Brown incident brought the issue of domestic abuse to greater awareness and helped illustrate that anyone can be a victim. Well produced PSAs like this can keep the discussion active and might just save lives. Women’s Aid reminds us that two women die a week in Britain from domestic abuse.