Victoria Walker (Margo Harshman), a 22-year-old girl from Minnesota, had just been told by the judge to “stay clean and get a job or go to jail.” She was also told that she must maintain the job for a minimum of one year. Victoria had been accused of theft and prostitution. Her parole office, Sara (Avery Sommers), told her that improving her attitude would be a great start. The judge gave them five days to find Victoria a job, an impossible task with Victoria’s past and her present confrontational demeanor. Victoria’s face was covered with tattoos, which is never mentioned by anyone. They knew, however, that she was hiding her true self behind her gruff exterior.
Anita Gillette - Wikimedia
Victoria is Hired
After several false starts, Victoria had an interview with an elderly woman in Florida, Althea Jaffery (Anita Gillette), who needed a helpmate after breaking her hip and being confined to a wheelchair. Surprisingly, and against the wishes of her lawyer and counselor, Althea hired Victoria immediately.
While waiting outside for Althea, Victoria appeared to run away but she had seen a dog in danger of falling in the water and went to rescue him. Her parole officer explained that Victoria loved dogs. They took a tour of the house after Althea explained that she could not go upstairs, but would communicate her voice to them through a hand radio which she held.
The Next Door Neighbors
Outside, they were introduced to Vincent and Lenny, partners who had moved in next door two years ago. The pair are very solicitous of Althea, and suspicious of the hireling whom they had just met.
Victoria was given a task list and told by Althea that she would be expected for breakfast at 7 o’clock each morning. Victoria insisted that breakfast had to be at 8 o’clock, and Althea relented.
The next day, Vincent and Lenny noticed that Victoria was over-watering Althea’s rose bushes and chastised her. It had previously been Lenny’s job. They complained to Althea, who asked them to be patient with Victoria. She had to learn a great deal yet.
Indoors, Victoria asked Althea why she lived in such a huge palace. It was the home where Althea had spent her entire life. When asked by Victoria why she had never married, Althea answered that she had never found the right man. Her father was strict about the suitors she had.
Margo Harshman - Wikimedia
Victoria admitted that she had run away when she was 14 years old and became a hooker when she was 21. Lenny had researched her on police files and told her that he would be watching her every minute because he did not trust her. He told her he had found out some things about her father, that he was sent to jail for five years for burning down his barn to collect the insurance money. He had a gambling addiction.
When Victoria served Althea macaroni and cheese for dinner that evening, Althea admitted that she had never had that concoction. Victoria had messed up the turkey that she was supposed to prepare, so she had to find a substitute.
Sara, her parole officer, realized that Victoria was chauffeuring Althea around without a driver’s license, which could land her back in jail. Victoria promised to get a license.
On Christmas morning, Althea had presents under the tree, some of which were for Victoria. One was a radio which would get her up on time every morning. Outdoors, Althea showed Victoria a car she had bought her; Victoria had to explain that she did not have a driver’s license. She gave Althea an unopened present she was given by her parole office, a small bottle of expensive perfume. Althea also bought Victoria a dress that she could wear for her New Year’s Eve Party. Victoria insisted that she never wore dresses.
Of course, she wore the dress to the party, which consisted of a gala and an auction for an expensive Morgan Arrow 8 automobile. Victoria kept bidding up the price, to Althea’s anguish. Victoria stopped just in time. The auction raised over one million dollars.
Piano Keys - Wikimedia
Victoria did get her driver’s license. She also put some money back in Althea’s hat box which she had stolen earlier. In a talk with Althea, Victoria recounted that her mother and brother Ryan were killed in a tractor accident on their farm in Minnesota. Her father went into a depression because he thought the accident was his fault. Her uncle repeatedly raped her when she was 14, so that she had to run away. She sobbed uncontrollably at her admissions.
Althea admonished her that she would have to learn to forgive both her father and her uncle, as well as herself. She stressed that forgiveness would be the catalyst for her healing. She handed Victoria a Bible which Althea threw on the floor.
The two eventually became friends over their mutual love for the piano. At a party, Althea announced that Victoria would accompany her on a piece that all would recognize. It was “Chopsticks” but it was played rapidly to the amazement of all.
Althea reminded Victoria that her year with her would expire in a few weeks, and perhaps she could get her GED and attend a trade school, and still remain with Althea.
Althea’s Past is Related
Victoria broke a platter by being clumsy and Althea directed her to a room upstairs where she would find another platter. Victoria found the platter which had a key on it. When she opened a closet door with the key, she saw a huge room with a lot of unopened presents and a package of unopened letters, which she brought downstairs to Althea.
Althea then related her own sorrowful past. She had fallen deeply in love with a boy named Steven when she was 16 years old, and she became pregnant. He had never loved her, he told her, and did not want a baby. He moved to Europe. Althea had a baby girl, and her parents found a family for the baby. Althea never saw the baby again.
“Is that why you are always on the Internet?” asked Victoria. Althea bought her child presents and wrote her letters which she could never send, in the hope that her daughter would come someday. She never heard from Steven either, but she forgave him. She explained to Victoria that forgiveness is for yourself; it helps to set you free.
Victoria said “So you forgave this guy, but did you forgive yourself?” Althea said “No.”
In a conversation with Sara, Victoria’s parole office, she heard for the first time that Sara was a prostitute when she was very young, but had cleaned up her life and now had a successful, fulfilling career.
Victoria Returns to Minnesota
Victoria said “I am going to Minnesota.” Althea gave her the keys to the car she had purchased for her. She also gave her copies of many of the photos she had taken of Victoria. Victoria gave her a CD of a song she had written for Althea.
Althea said “I am going to miss you, Victoria Walker.” Vincent and Lenny came over to see her before she left, and also said they would miss her. They had learned to care for her also. Once when she had asked Vincent if he had ever been hurt to the core, Vincent said “Yes.” Althea and Victoria both had something in their past that had hurt them to the core. Even Sara, her parole officer had a past which she had regretted. All of this was part of Victoria’s healing process, learning that others suffered as much as she did.
Victoria went to see her father in the Minnesota Correctional Facility. She also went to the gravesite of her uncle. She forgave both of these men, and she was able to forgive herself. In these last scenes in Minnesota, her facial tattoos had disappeared. It is likely that the phenomenon was symbolic of Victoria’s need to hide from others.
The film was not preachy. It was designed to educate people about the need to forgive, and especially to forgive oneself for events in the past. “Hiding Victoria” was released by ChristianCinema.com under the auspices of The Dove Foundation.
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