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A Word Away: A new film by Mollie Moore

MOLLIE MOORE  |  18 APRIL 2020  |  ISSUE #9

All accompanying images are stills from the film A Word Away. Courtesy of the author.

A Word Away, a film by Mollie Moore, looks into the lives of a family through the eyes of a young man named Cosmo, who came to the United States from South Sudan due to ongoing conflict there. It is set in Portland, Maine, along the rugged coastline of summertime.

A Word Away focuses on the emotional effects that relocating to a new home can have on individuals in the long term, as well as the short. In particular, the film shows the implications migration can have when people are not so readily welcomed into a new environment. Maine is known to be a predominantly conservative, white area of the United States, yet in parts there are large communities of new American citizens that have resided there for some time now, changing the fabric of the state.

Moore allows cinematic language and ambiguous poetic expression to speak on nuanced and complex feelings. Dedicating long, silent shots to observe Cosmo lost in thought, or merging his internal thoughts with images of beautiful landscapes of pastel colours, Moore invites us to enter a deeply personal world. 

We follow Cosmo through a transitional time in his life, as he begins to piece together parts of his past, in order to understand his current situation and his feelings towards life, and ultimately his feelings about finding a home. Cosmo seeks out a childhood friend, Moon, who is a poet from South Sudan. Cosmo and Moon turn to the art of poetry and story-telling in order to express their past and present. The film focuses on themes of belonging and identity through a mirroring structure of Cosmo and his father John, who works as a farmer in the local fields. John allows us as the audience to understand where they came from in contrast to where they are now, and Cosmo allows us to glimpse his delicate internal world.

In films, we often see stories of migration shown through the journey to a new country or the life that is left behind. Rarely do we see a story of migration through such a personal story about mental health and the long term effects these kinds of brave and traumatic journeys have on the people that are left with no choice but to find a new home. Mollie Moore shares with us a cinematic world that platforms Cosmo and Moon as poetic and insightful new voices. 

A Word Away recently premiered at the Camden International Film Festival in Maine and is currently in the film festival circuit in the USA and Europe, with the next screenings to be announced in the coming months. More information can be found at


Mollie Moore

Mollie Moore is a documentary filmmaker and also works as director of photography on other documentary projects. Her work focuses primarily on migration, LGBTQ+ issues and women’s rights. A number of her films are currently in the festival circuit in the USA. She is currently working as one of the lead filmmakers on the artist Marc Quinn’s ‘Our Blood’ project, which speaks to the topic of migration and the refugee crisis through multiple art mediums.

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