7 user 4 critic

Monkey Grip (1982)

A frank portrayal of a year in the life of a divorced mother living in Melbourne, trying to cope with her daughter and her own relationship with a drug addict while trying to get into the music business.



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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Noni Hazlehurst ...
Alice Garner ...
Harold Hopkins ...
Candy Raymond ...
Tim Burns ...
Christina Amphlett ...
Don Miller-Robinson ...
Lisa Peers ...
Cathy Downes ...
Justin Ridley ...
Pearl Christie ...
Vera Plevnik ...
Jamie Fonti ...


A frank portrayal of a year in the life of a divorced mother living in Melbourne, trying to cope with her daughter and her own relationship with a drug addict while trying to get into the music business.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Loving, hurting, caring, fighting, winning, losing, all part of ... Monkey Grip




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Release Date:

17 June 1982 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Monkeygrip  »

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Did You Know?


Appearing in this film, actress Alice Garner, was the daughter of the film's source novelist, Helen Garner. As the novel was auto-biographical, the film therefore is at least partially biographical for Alice Garner. See more »


Nora: [to Javo] Would you like to stay?
See more »


Featured in One Hit Wonderland: "I Touch Myself" by Divinyls (2016) See more »


Only You
Written by Christina Amphlett & Mark McEntee
Performed by Divinyls
See more »

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User Reviews

A fine example of everything wrong with Australian cinema
11 August 2007 | by See all my reviews

What a dog of a movie. Noni Hazelhurst's performance is quite good, but it sits amidst a jungle of abhorrent scriptwriting, mediocre direction and wooden acting from the bulk of the cast. Many of the characters are woefully miscast, particularly the ever overrated Colin Friels.

Very little works in this pretentious garbage. Much of the "character development" is done through a silly, angst-ridden voice over and frequently completely contradicts the behaviour of characters on-screen. In fact, it's hard to even figure out who the voice overs are talking about because they describe such different characters to who we see on screen! How are we meant to know Colin Friels (Javo) is meant to be an erratic, violent and unreliable junkie? One of these silly voice overs tells us. For crying out loud, the nature of his character is half the point of the movie and the only thing that lets us know is a flippin' voice over! The real killer is the characters. Everything about them. Their clothes are perfectly maintained and look fresh from the rack, despite the fact we are constantly reminded they are meant to be artsy paupers. They are all absurdly well-spoken for "junkies". None seem to have any real comprehension of life on the skids or on smack and yet this is meant to be the case with most of them.

Monkey Grip deserves no more attention than a weekday TV movie matinée. Crud like this, perfectly well shot and technically presented, but a cliché-driven angsty drama that shoots so wide of being plausible and meanders about for hours without really going anywhere. At least Noni gets down to her birthday suit at every given opportunity. There's no other sane reason to endure this junk.

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