Adaptation of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" set in rural Australia in the 1920's. Jack Dickens and his niece Sally run the family farm to support brother-in-law Alexander as a (supposedly ... See full summary »
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When a meddlesome mother enrolls in university with her son, old and new worlds collide. As the dust settles, Frank (Frances Regina Aileen Nano Kennedy) finds herself, David finds love and those around them find their lives changed forever. Written by
It's Jenny. I want her and she wants Mick. I'm Georgie Burke and Mick's Dad. Now go.
You are not George Burke. You are not your father. You are your father's son. I can't find words to express how proud I am of you. You're great. If she can't see that, she's not worthy of you. And if she can, she'll come around.
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Since the death of his father, David Kennedy has lived with his mother Frances (Frank) and has suffered with her suffocating "care" for him and inability to move past her loss. After embarrassing him one too many times, David snaps and rants at her about getting a life and getting out of his. However when Frances takes this to heart, we decides to enrol at an University to take a degree in BA with a major in poetry. Thing is though, she enrols at the same Uni as David.
The plot summary makes it sound like a straightforward comedy and for a while that does appear to be what it is trying to do. However gradually the film moves into more of a character drama were the dynamics within Frances' family changes a bit. Both approaches work reasonably well but neither one is actually that good. The comedy side doesn't really work as it isn't that funny but the bigger falling down comes in the dramatic side of the narrative. The thread with Professor Mortlock doesn't really go anywhere and it is the same with the major of the character interactions; I didn't feel convinced or touched by them or what was happening to them.
What makes the film better than it deserves to be is a passionate performance from Cusack. The script and direction may leave her without the support structure but she gives her all in a difficult character. Newton does reasonably well alongside her and rises to the challenge when the material gives it to him which sadly isn't that often. Neill drifts around in the background with a simple performance but not really adding much value.
Overall then an average comedy drama that doesn't really work that well in either regard. The comedy is light but never actually that funny while the drama offers things happening but not in a manner that engaged my head or heart. A couple of good performances carry it along more than it deserves but the final impression is to shrug one's shoulders and say it was "OK".
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