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Reviews & Ratings for
Somersault More at IMDbPro »

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Empathy is the key.

Author: mozo-3 from Australia
28 May 2006

Why is that some people just can't empathize with Holden Caufield in "Catcher in the Rye"? Emotional turmoil couched in sexual exploration is just that: raw emotional vulnerability. If you have never felt exposed and teeter on some kind of emotional edge (I'm not talking about melodramatic teenage angst) then the character Heidi is inaccessible as is this wonderfully poignant film.

I have also heard "Me You and Everyone We Know" described a "simple film". What an inadequate description for two films that take the audience on an exploration of the boundaries between emotional choice and the structures of reality that all of us create. We are all artists in this sense.

Just as with those who become hung up on whether Holden's teacher is exploiting Holden, being myopic with incidentals leaves one incapable of understanding the empathy between Stuart and Joe, two characters who share the experience of questioning their sexual orientation, except in this case Stuart is 15 years in further down this path and is able to understand Joe's inner conflict.

This is a wonderful Australian film, but unless you can put aside sensibilities dulled by years of cinematic abuse and take a fresh look at the emotional suffering in this sad and poetic film, you just wont get it!

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What is Love , she wondered.

Author: geckotheatre from MOTUEKA New Zealand
3 February 2006

A stylish first film from Austalian Cate Shortland. A tale of coming of age that captures more than well what it is like to be young, confused and yearning for Love and affection. Set to a rocking soundtrack and filmed in beautiful tones, "Somersault" is also supported by amazing performances. Abbie Cornish is truly touching and luminous as sixteen year old Heidi going through her sensory and sentimental journey, while Sam Worthington delivers an outstanding performance as Joe, a young wealthy farmer with plenty of issues of his own. Filmed at the foot of Australian ski fields, this gives a very unusual view of Australia which is generally associated with beach and sun, not snow and ski. I believe this is to the film's benefit, adding a slightly airy feeling to the location.

This film is quite simply a visually striking cinematographic poem.

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Somersaulting as a rite of passage...

Author: ( from Perth, Australia
13 December 2005

Heidi is between being a girl and a woman. Her girlish honesty is seen by others, who see her as a woman, as being either naive, rude or aggressively critical. The way men sexually respond to her, she believes she is a woman. The way she responds to men is both as the girl she still is and the woman she wants to become.

Heidi is looking for grown-up love. She thinks sex may be a very necessary path in that direction. As she pastes yet another cut-out photo into her scrapbook, she has kept, one suspects, since childhood, she dreams of love. What is it? She wants it. Everyone does. Love and thoughts of same litter her scrapbook like so many snowflakes of affection. Once she thinks she's found it with a young man near her age, it all goes wrong again. In way she's like the girl/woman of the movie "Candy", in others like the woman/girl of "Lolita", somersaulting her way towards maturity.

"Somersault" is a small, narrowly focused Australian film, perfect for a quiet, DVD evening.

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Drinking, fighting, and sex

Author: Red-125 from Upstate New York
20 November 2005

Somersault (2004) written and directed by Cate Shortland was shown at the High Falls Film Festival in Rochester, New York. This film has its moments as an Australian road movie, but I found it generally depressing and unsatisfying.

The protagonist, Heidi, played by Abbie Cornish, is an attractive adolescent who has attempted to seduce her mother's boy friend. Her mother's rage drives Heidi from their home, and she begins a trip during which her survival depends on her ability to make use of her narrow range of assets.

The milieu in which Heidi ends up is a rural area where the forms of amusement appear limited to drinking, drugs, fighting, and sex. Apparently, no one's imagination extends beyond these pastimes, and Heidi accepts the situation without question.

Although Heidi clearly would like love and respect, she'll settle for what she can get. When events turn sour, she lashes out at one of the few people who appear decent-- a woman named Irene (Lynette Curran) whose own life has been marked by pain. In fact, the scene between Heidi and Irene that occurs towards the end of the film is probably the most interesting and powerful moment in the movie.

This film offers a glimpse into a universe about which I know very little. If the portrayal of rural Australia is accurate, Somersault provides information to which I wouldn't otherwise have access. Other than that, it's just a coming-of-age film about a protagonist for whom I couldn't feel much sympathy.

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a bit biased because I liked Joe

Author: mami_ from Thailand
28 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Went to see this movie on a friends' recommendation (she read a review); she had not seen it either. Halfway through the movie she started apologizing for taking me to see it. Actually it was not that bad. Heidi didn't get on my nerves as much as I thought she would. I saw her as totally lost and trying to fit into situations that she was not used to and actually being convincing. By the end of the movie, when she decides to go back home, you have to understand. That she doesn't end up with Joe, which I was so wishing would happen, is also understandable considering that no matter how hard she tried, she wouldn't fit into the mold. Joe doesn't have issues that are different from many people; some people have difficulties expressing emotion, and though it took him a long time to give Heidi exactly what she wanted, you couldn't hate him. He expressed interest in the first place, that was probably a big achievement for him. Granted, he could have called her a bit more and he didn't have to kiss the hot gay guy, but he was just trying to find himself. The movie overall had potential. There were many moments where I sat waiting for something major to happen, only to keep getting disappointed. I would give it a 5/10.

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i see that place and it was a good one at that

Author: thelastonehere from United States
21 June 2005

I found little wrong with this film. I believe that it exists in the genre of 'art house' but that is more of a compliment than a slandering.

It is a coming of age film that focuses on a young girl who possibly has a mild form of Aspergers. When I saw the trailers to this film I thought that it was slightly more sexual and there would be more eye candy than story. There was more story and it is made for a for a female audience (chick flick)--- Not to say that I didn't get anything from it, but I couldn't relate to most of the film.

There is a sub-plot of her romantic interest who is a male in a similar situation of 'coming of age' and it explores a bit of the male point of view on the matter. That part I felt livened the exploration of the film.

I'm not giving anything away by this but if you are a female between 12 and 30 you will probably relate to this film more so than anyone else.

There was some overt cinematography in it that made the film a little more 'pretty' but I felt that if there was more time in developing the scenes and more emphasis on character relation (which is the most interesting part of the film)--- that this film would deliver a heavier punch.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

young women expelled from her nest, looks for love/security in a small town

Author: cscarcelli06 from United States
24 February 2007

I liked this movie because it wasn't your typical love story and it featured very good performances from the two leading actors(cornish and worthington) the latter I never seen before but will now be on the look out. Abbie Cornish helped carry this movie to a higher rating for me. Her lost-puppy looks, fear, determination to make-it in the real/scary world and to find a life for herself is well evoked. The setting of the movie is a small (sking) town frequented by rich and poor. The town has a kind of cold/barren type quality to it even though it's sort of a tourist spot. It kind of reminded me of NOI(iceland) in that the lovers in the movie are trapped in their environment and no matter what the outcome they are still stuck.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A moody piece that swallows you whole

Author: eyecircus from Australia
10 July 2006

Sommersault is captivating cinema. That rare kind that straddles the divide between art-house and accessible, moving drama.

Sommersault stays with you after watching. Beyond the great performances, direction and stellar script, it has a mystical quality that creeps under your skin. This quality seems to me the make-believe world of discovery main female lead - Heidi (Abbie Cornish), on the verge of womanhood, inhabits.

Heidis drifting keeps her just enough removed from the unfamiliar and potentially brutal world of the Snowy Mountains, NSW, Australia. Her drifting ultimately seems to spell her survival; through indifference, or perhaps her difference, she can see a way out of a town that holds no answers.

An interesting side-note, also mentioned in the film, is that an entire town nearby the location and the films setting was dammed to power the Snowy Hydro Electric Scheme - in development since 1949 and completed in 1974. Ranked as one of the the great engineering achievements of the century by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1967 and 1997, the dam engulfed an entire town; buildings, houses, shops, churches, streets and all, and claimed more than 120 lives.

To me this speaks volumes about the modern world white Australia is still so eager to become and which Heidi thrusts herself into; with it's hidden stories and volition enough to envelope all in its path.

Sommersault carries you through Heidis journey, all ambiguity and questions intact, and leaves you with a rare authentic experience all too familiar in life, yet rare in cinema.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Australian Flick

Author: Rick from Australia
2 July 2005

I thought the movie was an excellent depiction of Australian life in the transient tourist towns. The roller-coaster ride of a brave budding Australian woman, played brilliantly by the beautiful and talented Abbi Cornish, who experiences a full circle of events was captured superbly by the acclaimed director.

The movie managed to mix the fantastic imagery and scenery of the snowies with a well explored plot of teenage discovery nicely put off-centre by an eery soundtrack. Somersault succeeds in bringing a small piece of Australian society to life and we hope that more projects like this can be funded and brought to the public.

Australian cinematography is encouraged by the artistic expressionism employed in this stunning, sensual and symbolic movie. Check it out.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Torch bearer of the Australian New Wave

Author: AshLlewellyn from Australia
8 October 2006

Somersault heralds a turning point in Australian cinema. It is a lone voice amongst a jaded cacophony of authoritarian overtures which, since the introduction of celluloid to this island nation, have bullied more interesting and engaging topics into submission.

This is a story of a girl's sexual awakening. Although a common European theme, it is anathema to heavy-handed antipodeans who are as comfortable with the sexuality of adolescent women as they are with their own esoteric sexual proclivities.

Almost as if she were a blind woman, the central character Heidi, moves sensually through her world, a libidinal, though naïve, Haetera, causing disorder where the cool hand of repression had previously established a façade of normalcy.

The disruption to the repressive environment of rural Australia causes a whirlwind of angst and violence to surround her.

A fascinating, sensual, quintessentially Australian film that is the first, and only, to begin to acknowledge our sexuality. How fitting, then, that the central character is an ingénue! We have a long way to go. But, kudos, Cate Shortland. The only Australian film that represents anything like an authentic Australian experience. Bravo!

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