Amy Beaufort, also known as Freya Haywood, is the main character in the Hulu adaptation of J. P. Pomare’s popular novel In the Clearing. The TV series, titled The Clearing, delves into Amy’s personal struggles as a young girl in a cult called “The Kindred” and later as a mother of two. The show draws significant inspiration from the real-life Australian cult known as “The Family,” which was led by Anne Hamilton-Byrne, considered one of history’s most infamous cult leaders. In “The Family,” children were made to believe they were siblings, with Anne as their biological mother. They endured physical abuse, forced drug administration, and other horrific punishments. One of these children, Sarah Moore, eventually left the cult and contacted the police, leading to an investigation in 1987. In The Clearing, Amy’s character represents Sarah Moore, who bravely alerted the authorities and played a crucial role in putting an end to the cult’s notorious activities.
How Did Amy Expose Adrienne Beaufort’s Cult?
Amy, the daughter of Hannah and Henrik, former members of the Kindred cult led by Adrienne Beaufort, grew up in a very unhealthy environment. Hannah, a young woman practicing yoga in Adrienne’s studio, was captivated by Adrienne’s mesmerizing personality and her unique outlook on life. During this time, Hannah was pregnant with Henrik’s child, and they later got married. When Henrik met Adrienne, he, too, fell under her spell, believing her to be a divine being capable of bringing about a wave of change in their world. Adrienne’s desire to create a group of children through illegal adoptions led to Hannah and Henrik’s children, Amy and Anton, becoming the first members of the Kindred. Amy and Anton grew up knowing Adrienne as their biological mother. However, while Amy grew up and recognized the cruel methods Adrienne used to raise the children, Anton remained devoted to their “mommy.”
Amy was forced to conform to the cult’s rules and was even compelled to assist Tamsin in abducting a child named Sara, later renamed Asha within the cult. Asha proved to be resistant and constantly sought to escape back to her home, leading Adrienne to plot her demise. Amy, under Adrienne’s command, was forced into submerging Asha’s head in water, resulting in her tragic death. Adrienne recorded Amy’s confession, intending to use it as leverage to force Henrik to confess that he was the one who abducted Sara. Deeply traumatized by the incident, Amy’s mind sought solace in denial, causing her to forget her role in Asha’s tragic fate.
After Asha’s disappearance, Amy fled the cult but was apprehended by the police. Lead investigator Joe Saad extracted information from Amy, who falsely revealed that Henrik was the one responsible for the abduction. Amy had been instructed to make this false statement by Adrienne, who later fled the country, leaving Henrik to face the consequences of the crimes committed by Adrienne and her accomplices, Latham and Tamsin. Amy was later adopted by Christine and she eventually married Wayne, becoming a mother to their firstborn, Maxine. However, Amy’s past traumas haunted her, preventing her from being the ideal mother to Maxine. Her paranoia and distress led her to leave Maxine alone in a locked car, resulting in Wayne losing his trust in Amy and eventually gaining custody of his child. Though they later reconciled, trust issues persisted between Amy and Wayne.
Amy became pregnant again with Wayne’s child, Billy. However, Adrienne threatened Amy, warning her not to report Adrienne’s false mental illness to the police, as it would put Billy at risk. Unable to remain silent, Amy discovered that the Kindred had relocated and been revived, sparking fears for the safety of her children and others involved in the cult. Seeking help from Joe Saad and Collin Garrison, they conducted an investigation, gathering substantial evidence against Adrienne and revealing her true state of health. The police subsequently raided the new Kindred headquarters, bringing an end to Adrienne’s reign of terror and abuse.
Amy is a multi-dimensional character who undergoes a profound transformation throughout the course of the story. Raised in the darkness of the cult, she constantly grappled with her identity and the manipulation she experienced under Adrienne’s influence. Even though Henrik revealed himself to be her biological father, Amy harbored resentment towards him due to his and Hannah’s shared blind faith in Adrienne.
While Anton remained captivated by Adrienne’s charm and saw her as a mother figure, Amy adopted a more rational perspective. As she became aware of the cult’s manipulative and abusive practices, she started questioning their ideals and saw the torment inflicted upon the children. This realization led her to make the brave decision to leave the cult, breaking free from Adrienne’s clutches.
The trauma of being compelled by Adrienne to commit heinous acts, such as abducting the little child Sara and finally taking her life, left a deep scar on Amy’s psyche. The weight of this trauma tormented her soul, causing her to doubt her own instincts as a mother. This was the reason why she left her child alone in a locked car so that Wayne could take responsibility for the child and keep her safe. However, she took some time to reflect and acknowledge that she had never been a careless mother. Her actions were driven by a desire to keep Max safe and out of harm’s way. Recognizing this as well, Max decided to return to her mother, letting go of past conflicts and embracing a newfound bond between them.
Amy emerged as a rebellious soul who refused to stay silent in the face of Adrienne’s malevolence. She became a voice against the cult’s misdeeds, determined to protect her children and expose the truth. Throughout her journey, Amy grapples with trauma, denial, and a deep-rooted quest for justice. Her bravery ultimately contributed to bringing an end to Adrienne’s reign of manipulation and abuse, providing closure to the events of Season 1.
Amy’s character is a reflection of the real-life bravery exhibited by individuals like Sarah Moore, who played a pivotal role in exposing the inhumane activities of cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne. Sarah’s courage and actions have saved countless children from falling victim to such cults and spared them from enduring unimaginable suffering under manipulative “leaders” like Hamilton-Byrne.