This is the story of teenage girl Steph, who is brought up by her fiery aunt Jude after her pregnant mother Jass and Vietnamese father are killed in a car crash. The arrival of her late ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Alan
...
Jude
...
Steph
...
Brian
...
Jass (as Samantha Healy)
Tyson Contor ...
Johnny
...
Kath
Giang Le Huy ...
Thuy
Felicity Electricity ...
Sandy
Poh Ling Yeow ...
Chen Poh (as Ling Yeow)
Caroline Mignon ...
Maria (as Caroline Mignone)
Duncan Hemstock ...
Kenny Carter
Ed Rosser ...
Grandpa
Peter Michell ...
Dave
Adrian Shirley ...
Thommo (as Adrian Shirle)
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Storyline

This is the story of teenage girl Steph, who is brought up by her fiery aunt Jude after her pregnant mother Jass and Vietnamese father are killed in a car crash. The arrival of her late mother's diary reveals the colorful, sexy secrets of Jude and the foreman Alan that allow Steph to reinvent her vision of the world. Written by GayAtheist

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Release Date:

9 June 2005 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Matomena mystika  »

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AUD 5,500,000 (estimated)
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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Concentrated and evolving look at life in small town Australia told through the eyes of a young girl and a once young now middle-aged woman.
3 May 2009 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

I wonder what people will make of Peaches, the Australian Craig Monahan film, in the far future? Will they look back at it as an accurate capturing of times gone by as the naivety and bullish nature of youth back in the day played out in a lonely and frustratingly bland Australian town? Only time will tell but what's quite interesting, is the look at times gone by that are focused on within this very film; a series of flashbacks to the 1980s in which thirty something adults are carefree and relaxed in their lives but still crave something a little more. The film is of the ordinary sort; not especially exciting but trying desperately hard to study something: dreams, ambitions, loss and relationships with those 'higher' than you in the home and work-place. Sure, it carries that tetchy little independent 'feel' these films have and it was written by someone called Sue Smith, an individual who seems to have worked a lot in television before attempting this project and there you have Peaches' chief bane: a steady, unspectacular piece that'll look great on TV or as a made for TV piece.

I wonder how much of this is based on true events? OK, maybe a car crash in which a pregnant mother is killed but her baby is born and is then raised by someone else is unlikely but the study, I think, carries a certain personal element. It's here that perhaps the author is distinguishing the differences between the carefree attitudes of youth in a younger, more immature aunt Jude (McKenzie) when compared to the elder, more knowledgeable Jude. This transition, of course, occurs when the car carrying Steph's (Lung) parents crashes and kills them and wouldn't you know – Steph grows up to be a young adult herself and begins in similar spirit to what Jude once was. Maybe it is an author recollection; a story about how being young and free-spirited with big dreams is fine, but suffering a nasty event; acknowledging it and then moving on, indeed 'growing up', is the next phase and is just as important as enjoying your younger days.

In fact the early focuses of Steph reveal a slightly damaged psychosis. As a character, she keeps baby crayon drawings of her decapitated mother on her bedroom wall; cannot read too well; is a complete social misfit and lies to her aunt Jude in an unflinching and very thorough manner, when talking about how she got home one night. But the film is about Steph's maturity, put across via several flashbacks that are born out of the reading of Steph's mother's old diary that she kept up until that fateful night. What's key here is perspective. Aunt Jude can talk all she wants about how big and in charge she is, but Steph's first hand recounting of her aunt is played out through the filter that is her own mother's notes, observations and musings on all things around her – including Jude herself.

I think the film was aiming for most any of the flashbacks to act as some sort of tragic reminder of small town life, perhaps globally, perhaps purely in Australia. There is a lot of talk of moving away, indeed Jude has dreams of going to Queensland in which the chief lure seems to be nude beaches. But it's all academic because the present day equilibrium puts pay to most of the opportunists banter and acts as a reasonably sad reminder of what's to come. Tied in amidst all of this coming-of-age stuff and the deconstructing of parental figures is the look at redundancy. Hugo Weaving, proving he hasn't forgotten his roots what with him already breaking Hollywood when this was made, acts as a foreman at a local canning factory for a product that is the film's title: Peaches.

The fact this is evident could very well mean what the visualisation of the product actually is: the failing to pack and produce, the halting of the assembly line. The Peaches of the title could be seen as a metaphor for the lives of these people in the small town. The fact that the wrapping up or protection of said items is to cease as jobs and the world around them dries up forces a more vulnerable nature to the items in question. This is played off of the fact Steph's reading of her mother's diary helps dispel any aura her aunt may carry as she learns more and more of a relationship she undertook with Weaving's cannery foreman, named Alan. This might prevent Jude from being as imposing as she once was and thus; the protection and influence to 'mature' as soon as possible, without any tragic car crash event seemingly imminent, is somewhat lost. It is an allegory running parallel with the fragile and innocent item that is the peach loosing its protective casing in the form of a can as human influence slips away.

Peaches is slow and concentrated but there's enough going on to recommend it. A re-occurring question is something along the lines of "what does the diary say?" in terms of characters voicing concerns and it's poignant that it is, as it's a chief ingredient to the film's study. Someone's diary and a load of peaches: how many others film can lay claim that these two types of items are the nucleus of the film's study of small town Australian life? Not many, but Sue Smith and Craig Monahan can claim their film is.


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