A single mother, Fran (Noni Hazlehurst) is selflessly devoted to her children. But something is lacking in her life, and that something is the love of a man her own age. Her efforts to ... See full summary »
A single mother, Fran (Noni Hazlehurst) is selflessly devoted to her children. But something is lacking in her life, and that something is the love of a man her own age. Her efforts to juggle a love life with her home life are largely unsuccessful. Written by
call her irresponsible, but nobody could love her children as much as ...
Australian writer/director Glenda Hambly presents the title character, flaws and all, a mother who acts to effectively abandon her children in favor of a romantic life. However what saves Fran from condemnation is the great empathy created by the performance of Noni Hazelhurst. Hazelhurst isn't afraid to present Fran as stupid or ugly or child-like, her desperation highlighted in the scene where she begs her husband not to leave her alone with her children in suburbia. She also makes Fran's anger at the child welfare agency she calls the "Department of Good Intentions" funny, revealing an arrested development based on her own history of being a foster child.
Hambly's sad tale portrays the repetitive nature of abuse, with Fran acting the same way her mother did, and the accusation that her new boyfriend Jeff (Alan Fletcher) having abused Fran's eldest daughter Lisa (Narelle Simpson) aligned with Fran telling us that Jeff's father abused him. In the final image of Lisa, Hambly also suggests that she too will continue the cycle. The treatment stops us from viewing Fran as a tragic victim, since we don't see her trying to work whilst her children are at school, when her pride makes her refuse her to accept government support. The misanthropy of Fran's neighbor, Marg (Annie Byron, also an abandoned mother, doesn't progress into lesbianism, but whilst Marg's assessment of the men in Fran's life is correct, it still reads as a sign of resignation by Marg. Misguided Fran's priorities may be, but the idea that she needs a individual life apart from her children is valid.
The lighting in a fight scene is perhaps too dark to conceal the violence, but later Hazelhurst looks incredibly beautiful in a moment of reaction to Jeff.
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