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This dull Australian feature centers on the obnoxious Ellie, a ubiquitous rights of passage tale that is set on the coast. With her dead mother and one heck of an attitude, Ellie is part nerd, with an interest in the local bird and plant life, and part author, since she writes a book on same. (Her pseudo-intellectualism is expressed in phrases like "You slay me"). Regrettably, Tuschka Bergen's performance has been pitched at a level of hysteria that totally alienates us from her concerns. We just want her to shut up and go away.
Matters are not helped by the direction of Ogilvie. Although he has a good eye for group scenes - children at a the beach are portrayed as suitably horrible, and a family at Christmas lunch, - overall his camera-work is self-consciously arty. He is far too fond of the creeping effect, his editing is clunky, and the boom is often evident. He also stages a breakdown scene that is inexplicable in tone, as the context is not established until after it. And while the time period is presumably the 1950's, there are clear anachronisms.
Ogilvie's worst crime is his use of John Hargreaves as Ellie's father, Neil. As the treatment shows everything from her point of view, Neil is shunted to the side, and one of Australia's finest screen actors is wasted. However, even playing one of those ocker grotesques, Margo Lee scores some laughs. And in a minor role, Alexander Broun gets to say "Oh my God" in nearly as many variations as Sandy Dennis in The Out Of Towners.
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