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Reviews & Ratings for
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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Tender is the grungey night

Author: Philby-3 from Sydney, Australia
3 May 1999

The term "loser" to an Australian ear has a nasty harsh American stridency to it which seems to absolve the person uttering it from any sympathy for the "loser" in question. Now Gordon and Cynthia are definitely "losers" but at the end of this film we see beauty in an otherwise fairly pathetic pair. Gordon, in his mid-twenties, a country boy who's drifted to the city, works in a bottle store and lives in a once grand but now squalid rooming house occupied by various broken-down old men. He meets Cynthia, a barmaid, at work and for no particular reason they both quit. She moves in with him when her military parents are transferred. Gordon's chief recreation is drinking, and hers is sex, and after a while Gordon is dreading going to bed. Yet something happens between them and affection grows, even though we can see it's hopeless. There is beauty even in a doomed relationship between two misfits.

Quite why their lives have become so aimless is not really explored; both seem to have untraumatic backgrounds and neither is really cut off from their families. Gordon's lost love Rachel appears towards the end but he's lost interest in her, too. Gordon is at home amongst the deros, prematurely old, out of steam, life over before it really got started.

It sounds depressing and it is, but the relationship is tender and warm - a less melodramatic version of "Leaving Las Vegas." The story is set in Brisbane, though apparently not filmed there, and the humid stifling summer atmosphere is well evoked. It doesn't really explain the lack of motivation though.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A splendidly atmospheric filmic version of the best selling book by Andrew Mcgahan.

Author: Helenka from Brisbane Australia
24 April 1999

Praise the movie is a splendidly laid back version of Andrew McGahan's award winning best seller. The movie traces the odd love story between Gordon, the asthmatic heavy drinking under-achiever, and Cynthia, his energetic and demanding lover.

Cynthia, to Gordon's panic, expects sex 'every morning and every night' - "exhausting" is the way Gordon describes her. Set against the seedy boarding house where Gordon lives, the film explores the world of the socially displaced, and the under-motivated. It also looks at the way which relationships can implode despite the best intentions of its players.

McGahan's book Praise was the first of the 'grunge'fiction which swept through Australia (and other parts of the world) in the early 1990s. Despite the somewhat depressing story, the characters are depicted both in print and film with love, honesty and clarity. The performances of the actors in the film help the audience to like them both, and regard them with affection.

This film is a wonderful insight into a life that for many people is baffling - and for that reason alone should be regarded as an important Australian film.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

It's Been a Year!

Author: ( from USA
22 February 2000

I don't know who reads these things, but if anybody with any power or clout or interest could please note that this is a great film. Without a doubt much better than THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT or GO! or any other film you can name from last year's SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL.

I was one of the lucky audience members that was exposed to Curan's unique vision. Beauty was found in the most disgusting places.

It's been a year since I've seen this film. A number of my friends have had to read the book (which is available in the US) instead of watching miss Sacha Horler's performance --which apparently won her an award in Australia. Great job!

Please bring this film to America. I don't care if I need to order my own copy... this is not to be missed and, sadly, this entire country has missed out on it.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Sex and angst in Australia

Author: malo-6 from West Hollywood
17 July 2000

Hesitantly I went to this movie after reading an interesting review on a local freebie. As I expected we were about 10 people watching this film at peak time (Friday night) in a major art-films theater. It didn't matter because this is perhaps one of the best films I have seen this year. This a fully realized piece with extraordinary performances, excellent photography, superb set design/atmosphere, music, certainly the work of a great director. The story of two people who get together in a dead end relationship becomes fascinating the longer one watches them walk the road towards its logical conclusion. I personally didn't care about their "motivations" or their "backgrounds" as I have ceased to expect any logic from life. I took each second the way it came, each surprising turn, each new wrinkle in an apparently plotless movie. The ending is absolutely perfect as anyone will interpret it the way he/she wants. For me it brought up the power of memories/dreams/fantasies that don't let go, where pale and boring reality can't compete, even if one is aware that a fantasy is a fantasy. This film is much better than anything that has come out of Sundance and could have had a good shot at Cannes.

A must see if you like Bergman films: I was a thoroughly depressed individual when I walked out, and very happy to be one.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

At Home with Gordo & Cynnie

Author: Rogue-32 from L A.
31 October 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Noticed this on cable last night and wasn't sure I was going to watch the entire film; there was another movie starting in about half an hour that I was thinking of switching to...but by the time the reminder for that film came on my screen, I knew I was in for the duration.

Praise lures you in with the shockingly gnarly realism of its sex-crazed female protagonist Cynthia, portrayed with beyond-fearless, jaw-dropping commitment by Sacha Horler. Cynthia is RAW, literally, and she lives for only one thing: physical pleasure. She's an animal, basically, an primal being totally devoid of any domestication, a wildebeast in perpetual heat, and our 'hero' Gordon is both repulsed and attracted (as we are) by Cynthia's blatancy - she's everything he's not, and eventually he submits to her warped energy, her whirlwind of over-indulgence (and of course her sexuality), and for a short while his life has meaning.

You realize going in that this film will not turn into yer basic "and-they-lived-happily-ever-after" number, so we're not surprised when -=- MINOR SPOILER -=- Gordo finally has had enough; this damsel of the deranged has literally drained him dry and he has to cut her loose. The most poignant part of the movie, for me, takes place at the end, when, quite simply, Cynthia isn't there anymore, and we feel her absence just as profoundly as Gordon does.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

hate to say it, but not as good as the book

Author: eggbert-2 from brisbane, australia
27 April 1999

I'm just not too sure about this film. I loved the book, but somehow the film is just missing something. I think that you are not treated to as much of Gordon's inner thoughts and motivations, and so he comes off as less of a sympathetic character than in the novel. I concede, though, that it would have been quite difficult to achieve some sort of balance in the portrayal of the main protagonists, especially considering that Cynthia is such a dominant, aggressive (albeit sexually) personality.

Despite my misgivings though, the performances are fantastic, especially Sacha Horler as Cynthia.

Probably a common gripe from anyone living in Brisbane is that although the film is set here, it is so obviously not filmed here. I've heard all the stories about budget constraints and what not, but it still irks me (and many others) that a cult brisbane novel was filmed in sydney, no matter how universal its themes.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Real Couple

Author: mcgee4468 from Southern California
20 July 2000

Like the previous reviewer I read about "Praise's" appearance in our local art theatre (may have been the same showing) and came down to check it out. Like great writing, great film-making successfully journals the trials of everyday human conditions, rather than stringing together cinematic cliches. "Praise" accomplishes this as we immediately believe there are no actors, only we the audience feeling rather voyueristic and nodding with every move Gordon & Cynthia make as if we would have done the same. Unlike many directors, John Curran leaves much to his audience's judgement. I knew I'd watched the great telling of a great story, but also had a sincere appreciation for Curran's respect of our integrity as viewers. I'm left wondering why it took two years for "Praise" to reach Hollywood. Did someone in Australia put it in a bottle and throw it in the ocean toward the United States, drifting toward North America while we were plagued with "Gone in 60 Seconds" and "Mission Impossible 2"? Thank you!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Recommend reading McGahan's novel, it's much better.

Author: jonzot from Cairns, Australia
8 September 2007

Loved the book, I've read it many times, but the movie did leave out much of the plot. The book was more sexually charged, less depressing with greater depth. Had some great dark comedic moments though probably greatly exaggerated from McGahan's own experiences.

I lived in Brisbane during the early 90's with my girlfriend at a boarding house in inner city Windsor. A few old alcoholics lived in the rooms above. We were poor uni students so the book takes me back to that time. I can relate to those wasted days of drugs, alcohol, sex and strange nights out in The Valley.

I'd say a lot of Andrew McGahan's novel would be autobiographical as he went to The University of Queensland though dropped out before finishing his Arts Degree. He probably worked at one of the local bottle shops like the RE, Regatta or the Cri, had a sex crazy girlfriend and drank a lot of alcohol and experimented with drugs as you do.

This is a coming of age story that I believe many could relate to from their youth. You must read the novel, it's great.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

My idea of a perfect story

Author: bastard wisher from Hawaii
24 March 2006

Storywise, this film is perfect. Seriously, this is more or less the exact story i wish movies told. I don't know why there aren't more movies like it, really. Not only is it by far my favorite "twentysomething mopey slacker" movie (the only good one, really), but it ranks up there in the tragic love story department as well. Unfortunately, in terms of actual "filmmaking" the story isn't really done justice, although it's not so bad that it really weakens the film significantly. The cinematography and so on is competent but never really inspired. Pretty bland (some nice lighting though at parts). And the pace and tone are somewhat uneven, particularly towards the beginning. The film starts pretty choppy, narratively speaking, and at first it goes way too fast. Eventually it settles into a good groove though and towards the later part of the film the pace has adjusted itself comfortably. It also focuses tone-wise as the film progresses. At first the tone is a little haphazard and there are some attempts at cuteness and quirkiness that don't go over so well. The soul of the film is clearly a drama and not a comedy, and the director seemed to realize this part of the way through. But it's safe to say that overall the moments of greatness far outweigh the few awkward, misdirected moments. And in any case, i like the story enough that it can carry almost anything.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Praise for "Praise"

Author: George Parker from Orange County, CA USA
20 November 2001

"Praise" is a slice-of-misery Aussie flick which looks into the waxing and waning of a relationship between a sexually obsessed woman and her taciturn and less experienced boyfriend while both languish in a life of self indulgence, sex, indolence, sex, drugs, sex and more sex. "Praise" is one of those films which slip between the cracks of public consciousness for want of broad market appeal and entertainment value while garnering critical and industry acclaim for its ability to faithfully portray difficult human issues. A good flick for adult cinema devotees who are as interested in execution as in content.

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