It tells the story of Romulus, his beautiful wife, Christina, and their struggle in the face of great adversity to bring up their son, Raimond. It is a story of impossible love that ultimately celebrates the unbreakable bond between father and son.
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Raimond Gaita (1946 - ) comes of age in Frogmore, Victoria in the early 1960s. His parents are immigrants: his Romanian father farms; his German mother, Christina, estranged from Romulus, is in Melbourne. Romulus is near despair when she takes up with the brother of his best friend, who suggests he send for a new wife from back home. For Rai, poverty, bruises, and the mysterious ways of adults compete with his longing for a stable home and his own incipient puberty. Love and madness lie in the same bed. As an old woman tells Rai, "Sometimes what you reckon and what you get ain't the same thing." Written by
Eric Bana stated in an interview that during filming, he remembered much of his own family's struggles and as a result, it felt a bit like his own history. See more »
In the scene in the diner in which Christina plays a record on the jukebox, the jukebox is marked "Stereophonic." In 1962, stereophonic jukeboxes didn't exist and 45 rpm records (which is what the jukebox in the film plays) were mono only. See more »
I wish it could be the way it used to be. When we were friends.
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I saw this movie the night before last - it goes to World Wide Release in 6 days time. The movie is an absolute must see - I don't think I can put it better than Helen Garner when she said "I can't think of a single Australian movie with such a dense and complex emotional texture. I know I will never forget it."
The story is uplifting in spite of tragedy of truly Shakespearean proportions. One of the most inspiring things is that Raimond not only survived but grew up to be as he is - the story is about the unbreakable bond between Father and Son, I was often in tears. Romulus was a "Very Good Man" (almost a Saint). We also get a keen understanding of the love of man for his fellow man, from the relationship between Hora and Romulus and especially between Romulus and Mitru.
The time and place is evoked beautifully as well as the colossal struggle that postwar migrants went through in Australia. Most readers will either not know or not remember that these were hard times indeed, in 1961 the Federal Government instituted a credit squeeze which almost destroyed the Australian Economy. The country people suffered much, as did the city people also.
The actors are brilliant - Eric Bana, Marton Csokas, Franka Potenta (you can't take your eyes off her whenever she is on screen - the woman is startlingly beautiful) and Russell Dykstra - all are perfect for the roles. The standout performance however is from the new child actor Kodi Smit-McPhee - he is a discovery on the order of another Haley Joel Osment, Keisha Castle-Hughes or Christian Bale. The boy is in almost every scene and he carries the production almost entirely on his little shoulders.
After the film, I recommend the book - it is beautifully written and easy to read and will explain what happened to all the characters as well as a lot of the subtext (the film coves a period of about four years in Raimond's life - from age 9 to about 13). The final point is that you have to pay attention to the film carefully - subtlety is the word here and dialogue is spare - you really need to look at the people to understand what is going on.
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