An intimate story set during the 1860s in which a young Irish woman Sarah and her family find themselves on both sides of the turbulent wars between British and Maori during the British colonization of New Zealand.
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Leeanne Rosser a strong but world-weary 20 year-old solo mother, sits on a hot train with her one-year-old, half-Samoan son Sam. It's her mother's birthday and Leeanne and Sam put up with the heat to visit her in Wainuiomata. But her mother is feeling the pull of the church, and refuses to accept Leeanne's baby born out of marriage. Leeanne's father is helpless to bring them together. Unknown to all of them, Leeanne's brother Brent is out creating mischief. He pretends to be a student or a bible salesman, and then robs houses when their owners are absent. Today an unsuspecting victim, Ulla, returns home during his robbery. Brent panics and sends Ulla plummeting down the steps with a sickening crack. For Leeanne and her family, and Ulla and her family, from that moment on, everything is changed. Ulla is paralyzed, her neck broken. Ulla has a 15 year-old daughter Olivia and an estranged husband Athol, who still lives at home and buries himself in his rental properties. Her husband's ... Written by
NZ Film Commission
Novels that work don't necessarily translate well into good films; so much depends on the scriptwriter and the director. This film lacks the finesse that one could expect from top notch exponents of both, but does have redeeming merits. From a parochial standpoint it makes good use of Wellington locations (where both novel and film are set), both suburban and downtown, including the old main Wellington Hospital building which happened to be demolished about the time the film premiered. The 20-year-old sister seems rather inept at finding herself a solo mother from a fling with Samoan rugby star even if she adores the baby, but her less than happy circumstances pale in comparison with her burglar brother to whom she has unfailing loyalty. Interspersing that with the saga of the other family of whom the mother is one of the burglar brother's more unfortunate victims gets a little messy visually and plotwise at times, and I found myself pondering ways it could have been done better. The acting is patchy: the females are good overall, the males less so. Good that this was made, a pity the result wasn't better.
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