This movie gives us two perspectives on very difficult lives. First, we meet “The Children” – seven teenagers who each have a broken relationship with their mothers and whose lives are bleak and hopeless. Best friends Katrina (played by Sophie Lowe) and Trisha (by Anastasia Baboussouras) are school truants who smoke, drink and shoplift. Roo (by Eamon Farron) is Trisha’s older brother and is involved in porn. Daniel (by Harrison Gilbertson) is accused of stealing from his mother. Orton (by Reef Ireland) has run away from home and his young sister Stacey (by Eva Lazzaro) has followed him. We watch as the same day goes by for each of these seven and their grim lives play out in the difficult and harsh world they live in.
We then meet “The Mothers” – these women are all trying to cope with their own range of problems. Rhonda (played by Frances O’Connor) is Orton and Stacey’s mother, she is pregnant and Child Services are the only structure or support present in her life – her string of lovers has left a tough legacy on her children. Bianca (by Miranda Otto) is Katrina’s mum – she is depressed and a gambler. Daniel’s mother, Tanya (by Deborra-Lee Furness), has a distant relationship with her unemployed husband (by William McInnes) and Gina (by Victoria Haralabidou) is Trisha’s hard-working, religious mother, who fears for the safety of her son, Roo.
The same day is now presented to us from the perspective of the Mothers, until the time reaches the stage where we left the Children and it then continues in real time until its conclusion when we learn the final status of each of the seven relationships.
I thought for a long time about the right word to use to describe this movie – I kept coming back to one … extraordinary. This movie presents some tough life issues front and centre. When I was watching, I am sure my eyes never left the screen once. It is a stunning portrayal of honest, raw emotion, true life situations and the deepest of primal instincts. The acting is just stunning – the adults are all well-respected Australian actors and these roles are all performed to perfection. The children are too – just awesome performances. Unfortunately, this Australian movie is probably going to remain invisible to the mainstream, but if you can get it … see it.
This movie is based on the highly regarded Australian play “Who’s Afraid of the Working Class” by Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves, Christos Tsiolkas and Irine Vela.
Made in 2009. Directed by Ana Kokkinos