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This romantic comedy takes place over the course of one year - opening on New Year's Eve of one year and closing exactly one year later. The film focuses on three women living together in a house in Sydney and three male best friends. The men and women at the film's start have not yet met, but it is obvious that all will get together by film's end. The three women are all ending nowhere relationships with married men, older men, or just life's losers. One of the men is just a shy law graduate, one is a sexual conqueror who has just learned one of his conquests is pregnant, and the last is facing a breakup of his marriage. Through various events, each of the two trios end up together at the turn of the year. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Too many reviewers have tried to compare Emma-Kate Croghan's second feature with her first, Love and Other Catastrophes. Well you'd expect that, since they are relatively the same subject matter. I'm not though, because I have not seen it. But I will most definitely see it soon, because I was very impressed with "Strange Planet".
It's not often that directors play it straight off the bat. Most try to pull off something amazing and fail miserably, others go for the 'play it dumb' method to make it accessible for everyone, as Steven (Hugo Weaving) so rightly puts it in the film. Croghan as a director oozes class; she knows what she is doing. In other hands it could have been very messy.
The tagline is perhaps the best summary of the film one could put it. Three girls, three guys, 365 days to get it together. We follow the trials and tribulations of the two separate groups, who encounter the usual mid-twenties "What am I going to do with life?" crisis, fall in and out of love, rave parties etc etc. All told with amusing results. Though the material is far from original, I never felt as if I needed to scream out "I've seen it ALL before!!!". Croghan adds in her own dose of tricks along the way to make sure it definitely sets it apart from other films, for example watch out for the ongoing discussion of a lady's handbag!
Claudia Karvan wonderfully plays Judy who begins the film with so much assurance but begins to lose herself as her world starts falling apart. Naomi Watts (Alice) is great too and easy to watch. In fact all the actors gave first class performances. There is so much to like about the film, that the ending comes as a bit of a let down. It's the ending you want for the characters, but not exactly the right ending for you. A little too sentimental and over-done and way too predictable.
Australian films have come a long way since Gallipoli, Strictly Ballroom and even the recent Shine. No longer are we compelled to just one or two great films a year. We are producing them like never before. Strange Planet sits with the best of them this year - Two Hands and Siam Sunset. With Croghan, Karvan and Watts we have many good things to look forward to.
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