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Janey is on vacation with her brother, Jim, mother, Kate, and father Ed, at their beach house on the Mahurangi Peninsual in New Zealand. Ed and Kate, who are on the verge of divorce, sit around in the back yard all day drinking whiskey and Janey and Jim are left to their own devices. Cady, a local boatee who is having an affair with Kate, catches Janey's pubescent eye. In response to his wife's drinking problem and recurring infidelity, Ed turns to alcohol, ignoring his children almost as much as his wife, which eventually leads to a character's fate. Written by
Sublime evocation of adolescent girlhood and family fragility
My friend and I spent the after-movie coffee trying to decide whether Rain was indeed the best New Zealand movie we have seen. An intense, evocative slice of 1970s beach holiday life, there is nothing about it that doesn't work.
This project clearly couldn't have worked or even happened if it weren't for the amazing discovery of the star, the very young Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki. She makes Rain an uncomfortably accurate portrayal of what it's like to be inside an adolescent girl's body and life. Her character, Janey, is twelve-going-on-twenty, experimenting with the power that can come from being a young woman, full of new secrets. Her performance is intense in a deliciously natural way and carries the entire film.
While her character is central, this is not just another coming-of-age story. We also see the complex interactions of her family members and various holiday acquaintances and watch tested loyalties, experiments in love and attraction, and quite a bit of swimming and fishing.
The cinematography is distinctive and excellent, all the other actors are faultless and the soundtrack, by Kiwi icon Neil Finn, is exactly right. Rain is a frighteningly impressive debut by director, Christine Jeffs.
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