Private Violence

Directed by Cynthia Hill

One in four women experience violence in their homes. Have you ever asked, “Why doesn't she just leave?” Private Violence shatters the brutality of our logic and intimately reveals the stories of two women: Deanna Walters, who transforms from victim to survivor, and Kit Gruelle, who advocates for justice.


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  • ★★★½ review by C.J. on Letterboxd

    Good advocacy documentary about domestic abuse. Cynthia Hill spends most of her time showing why the "just leave" mentality from people toward abuse victims is ignorant, but I was more surprised by the lack of any serious legal consequences for abuse.

    I was more interested in the systemic issues Hill brings up (the film sags in the middle, which is the only major issue I have with it) but that's a personal preference. It's a well-made verite doc that does exactly what it sets out to do.

  • ★★★½ review by jerry hudson on Letterboxd

    powerful short. makes you feel bad about modern legal system.

  • ★★★½ review by Andy Ferguson on Letterboxd

    The life's work of Kit Gruelle, the admirable woman who has spent years as an advocate for victims of domestic violence after she endured it in her own marriage, is documented in HBO's newest documentary, Private Violence.

    One particular case is focused on in the film's unfortunately short running time at less than 80 minutes. That is the story of an Oklahoma resident named Deanna, who went through such a horrific series of abusive acts that I don't even dare recount them in this review. Knowing that cases like hers are spread across the world and are almost common is a horrifying thing to fathom, and if something is going to be done about changing our country's views on how the courts should deal with the perpetrators, then more people like Gruelle and more films like this are going to have to start pouring out of the woodwork.

    This is harrowing, yet very important work that needs to be seen. My only complaint is that I think it needed to be a miniseries that went into several hours of detail and investigation.

  • ★★★½ review by jaydeqt on Letterboxd

    A very important advocacy documentary that details parts of domestic abuse. There are scenes that show the ugly truths of domestic abuse (women returning, women or their partners being killed), but it also shows societies slow shift to help these victims (Deanna’s story and the result).

  • ★★★★½ review by JossWhedonsdick on Letterboxd

    Unyielding, intense, and empathetic. Hill weaves a masterful dramatic composition that's at once extremely personal and nearly frighteningly universal.


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