Looking for Alibrandi (2000)

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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,380 users  
Reviews: 74 user | 13 critic

A teenage Australian girl deals with the traumas of everyday life. These include her difficult relationship with her single mother, the unexpected return of her long-lost father, the ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
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7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Katia Alibrandi
Kerry Walker ...
Sister Louise (Nun)
Leanne Carlow ...
Sera Conti
Diane Viduka ...
Anna Selicic
Michael Gallina ...
Rosa DiMarte ...
Domenico DiMarte ...
Tyrone Lara ...
Anton Valavic
Mr. Barton


A teenage Australian girl deals with the traumas of everyday life. These include her difficult relationship with her single mother, the unexpected return of her long-lost father, the disapproving nuns at her strict Catholic school, the acceptance of her schoolmates,and romantic dilemmas over two very different boys. Written by Phythian

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sometimes what you're looking for is closer than you think...


Comedy | Drama | Romance


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

4 May 2000 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Alibrandia etsimässä  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Did You Know?


The firm Michael Andretti works for is called Clayton Utz. Clayton Utz is a real law firm, one of the biggest national firms in Australia. One of the scenes was filmed in their Sydney offices. See more »


Josie's hair changes between Black and Auburn throughout the film. Particularly notable when she mistakes a student for John Barton at the train station. Her hair was colored, turns black and is then colored again in the next scene. See more »


Christina Alibrandi: I wonder what I did to deserve you.
Josie Alibrandi: Would you like me to refresh your memory?
See more »


Features Catch Phrase (1998) See more »


I'm the Problem with Society
Written by Feltham, Forman, McDougall and Whatley
Performed by Frenzal Rhomb
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Agreeable adaptation
1 July 2000 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

A film treatment of a well-loved ( despite being prescribed school reading) children's story is always a delicate matter but here the makers have captured most of the spirit of the original, possibly helped by the fact that Melina Marchetta, the original author, also wrote the screenplay. Josie is the daughter of a single mother of Sicilian background who attends an exclusive Catholic girls' school on a scholarship. Her father, who she has never known, turns up out of the blue as a successful lawyer and she and her mother both have to cope with this not entirely welcome event. Josie, being 17, is also interested in boys, two in particular. One is a nice but insecure kid from the establishment, the other, self –confident and sexy, from a single parent home on the other side of the tracks. Also in the story is Josie's Nona (Grandma), long widowed after a loveless marriage, who lives nearby and keeps a close check on Josie's doings. Josie's occasional voice-overs and her lapses into fantasy give the film a slightly Adrian Mole-ish atmosphere, but Josie's family and friends are not grotesque, just human.

Women who haven't had a father while growing up are supposed to find it more difficult to handle adult males and Josie has to learn to deal with a father and boyfriends at the same time. She also has to handle to snobbery at school, not to mention the burden of the dreaded HSC exam in her final year. She is aiming high (law at a prestigious university) so that she can escape from little Italy and the annual tomato sauce bottling. She learns, of course, that you cannot escape from what made you, you can only make it work for you. As in real life, nothing quite works out according to plan, but at the end she's a year older and wiser.

It's Pia Miranda's film. Her Josie is assertive, vulnerable and warm. A raft of good supporting actors back her up. Greta Scacchi, often cast as a sex bomb, is a blowsy but loving Mum. Anthony La Paglia is a bit of a stock character as the new-found father but has a couple of good scenes. Elena Cotta as Nono and Matthew Newton and Kick Gurry as the silvertail and rough trade boyfriends also do good work. Kerry Walker, so often cast as a female monster, puts in a restrained performance as a firm but sympathetic schoolteacher. I also liked Josie's two girlfriends Anna and Sara, the 'wog chicks' in the old Merc, and their no-holds barred approach to enjoying life despite the HSC and demanding parents. Sydney city vistas are also used to good effect – the bridges, the harbour, Bondi Beach, and there was even a school debate in the foyer of the Opera Theatre. It was nice to get away from the grunge Sydney seen in 'Two Hands' etc.

I noticed that though I could hardly be described as being in the target audience for this film I was smiling most of the way through and emerged from the cinema with a reasonably cheerful feeling. It's not a particularly dramatic story but it's easy to warm to the characters. A film adaption that works, it seems.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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