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Filmmakers Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy collaborate on this mystery about a young loner named Helen (Annie Townsend), who becomes unexpectedly influenced by the persona of a missing girl after agreeing to assume her identity for a police reconstruction of the crime scene. The more Helen identifies with the girl police are searching for, the smaller the gaps in her own fractured life become.

An 18 year old girl called Joy has gone missing. Another girl called Helen is a few weeks away from leaving her care home. Helen is asked to play Joy in a police reconstruction that will retrace Joy s last known movements. Joy had everything. A loving family, a boyfriend, a bright future. Helen, parentless, has lived in institutions all her life and has never been close to anyone. Gradually Helen begins to immerse herself into the role, visiting the people and places that Joy knew; quietly and carefully insinuating her way into the lost girl’s life.

But is Helen trying to find out what happened to Joy that day, or is she searching for her own identity?

“The most original British film was Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s low-key, low-budget Helen, a formally innovative look at provincial life” – Philip French. 2009 in Review: Film. The Observer

desperate optimists, UK/Ireland, 2008, DVD-PAL, 75 mins.