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Fran, the assistant to university professor Paddy, is about to turn 30. She is having an affair with a married minister's aide, Stephen. She returns home to the country town she grew up in and has a fling with an old flame, Alan. She also begins sleeping with Paddy. Written by
This Australian film centres on Judy Morris as Fran, a university research assistant at a crisis as she turns 30, and re-evaluating the men in her life. That the screenplay contains no great drama doesn't distract from what is a pleasant if ultimately unsubstantial viewing experience. One can hardly complain about the obtuseness of a denouement, where the heroine's choice is to run away, when what she runs from is just as weightless.
Given that one of the writers is Bob Ellis, it's no surprise that the screenplay is full of purple prose and pretentious literary references, apparently to indicate that these people are educated. However, there is some amusing banter and funny lines. "Sex is of no consequence in politics, unless you're caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman". "I got to the point of accepting what I've got, then started to see it deteriorate". And, in response to a I love you, Fran says "And does anything follow on from that?" Fran is described as a woman "with a masculine mind", and a failed writer, who narrates letters to the first wife of her employer, who is travelling in Greece, and Fran's problem in not having a partner are rationalised by her being told that "All the good men were killed off in World War 1". However, this doesn't mean that she has any shortage of suitors, juggling her married lover, her employer, a high school sweetheart she meets when visiting her mother on the coast, a salesman, and a Cabinet Minister.
The narrative introduces some interesting touches - the wife of the married man Fran is seeing appears and asks to join in, much to the shock of the man; there is a long sex scene involving the complication of impotence; and inexplicably lots of scenes of eating. The encounter with the salesman is saved from being a study of opportunistic chauvinism, with a near-rape, by the final funny insult by Chris Haywood. And it's a relief when the narrative moves away from the married man, since as a Canberra Minister's assistant, he is clearly an Ellis stand-in.
Morris has a likeable comic dryness, and as well as a combination of lyricism (somewhat overdrawn by the music score of composer Bruce Smeaton) and appealing clownishness. She adds a laugh to the scene where she is being inexpertly kissed in a car, and asked what is wrong, answers "The door handle".
Director Christopher McGill uses a fake looking airplane interior, and the Australian entertainer Mo on television.
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