Josie Spratt (an extraordinary Lily Nunweek) is that kid in school that the others pick on simply because they can. Somewhat plain and a little on the chubby side, not flowering as fast as the other girls her age, and certainly not yet the burgeoning beauty her older sister Virginia is turning into, it’s no surprise that she’s so somber; that she gives off such an aura of premature maturity.
None of those reasons are why she’s such a brooding kid, however. The real reason, far more horrific than that, is a secret to everyone…except the jovial shopkeeper Mr. Rogers (Michæl Keir Morrisey). Outwardly, Mr. Rogers is Josie’s biggest cheerleader, constantly offering words of encouragement to the aspiring swimmer as she trains for the Goodwill Games.
Yet, behind the closed doors of his shop, Mr. Rogers is quietly destroying Josie, not merely by sneaking her the grotesquely pink-glazed donuts in violation of her training regimen, but by coercing the young girl into unspeakable acts in order to earn those donuts.
“Donuts for Breakfast” is a difficult film to sit through. The cruelty the other kids display towards Josie at school is unnerving enough, but at least that can be written off simply as kids being kids. There’s nothing to describe the squeamishness and vague sense of nausea that hits when one realizes what Mr. Rogers is up to.
There’s also no way to accurately describe the stellar performance the young Miss Nunweek pulls off in conveying her disgust at these actions and their resulting self-loathing, nor the exceptional directing job done by Director Felicity Morgan-Rhino in drawing out such a performance from a young actress who, one hopes, was oblivious that such perversity exists.
“Donuts for Breakfast” is a powerful, darkly disturbing portrait of sexual abuse and child molestation; a reminder to us all that evil can exist in the most unlikely of places.