A middle aged widow and a widowed man twenty years her senior move up north from Melbourne to country Queensland, hoping for an idyllic life away from the hustle and bustle of the city, however, her longing for her family and his deteriorating health get in the way in this strongly acted Australian drama. Julia Blake and the legendary Leo McKern (in his third last big screen role) are both excellent throughout and deliver David Williamson's witty dialogue with perfect intonation and timing. "I may be old... I'm not defunct" insists McKern at one point, too proud to take his doctor's advice to "grow old gracefully", later on memorably threatening the doctor in order to obtain his medical books and research his heart condition for himself. The film is clearly more about McKern than Blake, which is not necessarily a bad thing since McKern has such a fascinatingly flawed character: one who can be quite boorish and yet who loves classical music, wide open skies and country drives. With all the focus on McKern though, it is often hard to see what Blake sees with him and why she chooses to stick by him as his worsening health makes him increasingly temperamental. Including scenes of their budding romance may have helped things out; then again, it is hard to argue with the effectiveness of the choice to focus on the aftermath of their romance: deciding to live together despite never knowing one another quite as well as they first thought. The question is then whether they were drawn together by mutual love or mutual loneliness. It is food for thought for sure.
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