In “Romulus, My Father” the memoirs of Raimond Gaita are brought to life. Rai is a young boy of around 10 years old (played beautifully by Kodi Smit-McPhee) and his parents are Romulus, (played by Eric Bana) and Christine (by Franka Potente), who are post-war immigrants to Australia. The family has a tough life on a farm outside Maryborough in Victoria and eventually Christine becomes overwhelmed by this hardship, so she leaves the father and son on their own. She occasionally returns to visit the twosome and each time these visits are bittersweet with both joy and pain for Rai. During one visit, Christine decides to stay and sets up house with another man, Mitro, (played by Russel Dykstra). They settle in the nearby town and soon have a baby. At this point, Rai is sent to live with his mother, her new man and their baby.
The story is told from Rai’s childhood perspective and his view of the world, the community of immigrant men without women. The hardship and poverty of the early 60’s in this area is well depicted, but at the heart of this movie is the world of this child told through his schoolmate antics, his complex and confusing observations of the world, his overwhelming love for both his parents and his experiences of each tough relationship. There are some startling scenes throughout the movie, which keep you engaged throughout.
The relationships, drama and characters are all very well developed in this movie – it is a great Australian, true-life drama. I really like it and recommend it.