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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
excellent movie, all the way up to the last few minutes
This film was delicious to watch. Some of the cinematography was really striking, as were some of the cinematographic choices, such as the sparing use of very brief black-and-white shots. I also liked the depictions of children at play (one moment in particular: when Jim cavorts in the dimly lit front yard at dusk in semi-slow-mo in a dracula cape, in a sort of scene-change-sideshow-distraction, innocently echoing the ominous tone of the previous scene). The play really rang true, reminding me of my own interactions with my siblings. The relationship between the two children was endearing and a welcome relief from the other very draining relationships in the movie.
I spent most of the film wondering whether a particular event was going to happen, and I felt that the few moments after it did happen near the end were the best of the film, UP UNTIL something else happened that I felt was a little over the top. The former event brought together the relationships that Janey, the young protagonist, had with all of the other characters in such rich, complex, achingly painful ways, it really left me in awe. It was a very strange experience, then, to have the second, over the top event happen not a minute later. I really felt this last event was unnecessary, and it cut me off from fully appreciating the best moment of the film.
So, the first 94 minutes or so were really great, and the last three, while they did cut me off from my greatest moment of admiration, did not detract from the overall greatness of the film.
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