Heidi (played by Rachael Taylor) has returned from Nevada to her home town of Mildura, in a rural orange-growing area of Australia to attend her estranged father’s funeral. Due to her parents’ separation when she was very young, her mother raised her in the US and she has not been back to Australia until now. She hitch-hikes from Melbourne and on her way she is picked up by Michael (by Alex Dimitriades), an orange farmer who lives near her destination. She reaches Mildura for the funeral and meets her step-family for the first time. As she has a few days before her flight back to the US, she begins picking oranges on Michael’s farm and she mixes with Michael’s friends who have arrived to pick the waiting harvest. A relationship between Heidi and Michael begins to develop, but each has strong issues to deal with which influence their tentative attraction to each other.
This is a gentle love story that nicely depicts the confusion and hesitancy of learning to trust and understanding your feelings again after being damaged. The romance develops slowly but the story also meanders through the relationships between the group of friends and Michael, along with Heidi’s feelings about her father. The ending is very nice and it fits this movie well. It’s a bit hard to tell whether Michael is meant to be older than he looks – sometimes he reflects a much more staid and mature person than he needs to be. Rachael Taylor is luminous as Heidi, but it’s not too much – and she has progressed to some great things in the US since she made this movie. Australian movie matriarch Jackie Weaver makes a very fleeting appearance in this movie also – I’m not sure that it was necessary really.
It is not a soaring romance, nor a deeply emotional experience, but it’s a nice movie.