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Based on the award winning novel by Nick Earls, 48 Shades of Brown, this coming of age comedy is about a 16 year old, Dan, who must choose between going to Geneva with his parents for a year or move into a house with his young Aunt, Jacq, and her roommate, Naomi. He chooses the latter and now, in his final year of school has to come to terms with survival in an adult world and falling in love for the first time. Written by
It's an amazing experience to see a very pretty film on the big cinema screen which not only shows your home town at its best, but also includes a friend or two as extras (Hi Quentin!).
Based on the novel "48 Shades of Brown" by locally and internationally celebrated Irish born Brisbane author Nick Earls, we're taken into inner city suburbia to view the interplay of several young people developing life skills in the process of falling in and out of love. The protagonist is handsome young student Dan who moves in with his (only slightly older) aunt Jacq to finish his college year while his parents are overseas on extended travels.
I've got to say that I much preferred the play, as adapted by long time Earls collaborator Philip Dean - in which not a word or gesture is wasted, and the audience really does get a very satisfying sense of discovery. The film makes some plot elements too obvious.
The cinematography and sound are first class throughout. The slight weakness in the film is in the script and direction (both by Daniel Lapaine). I believe that some more dialogue was necessary in order for us to be fully clued up about the characters and their expectations. There are a few too many meaningful facial expressions (from Dan) and longing glances (from Jacq).
All the actors do well - but especially Robin McLeavy as the life loving rebel aunt Jacq. Michael Booth takes on the task of geeky landlord with gusto, further reinforcing the likelihood of being permanently typecast (he features in a cinema chain advert for online pre-booking of tickets).
Brisbane viewers are kept on the hop trying to spot the various locations - and while they all look good on the screen, they'd beggar practical logic in real life. That's OK, it's all fun - and the film really does have a lot of genuine humour to offer - as well as scenes which make you squirm or cringe (but only because they're so very close to real life).
I like that all the local housing and household items are 100% authentic - including the iconic laminex table on the verandah and the Hills Hoist rotary clothes line in the back yard (though I've never witnessed one used in a drinking game before). In the current drought you can even see that the lawn is yet another shade of brown.
48 Shades has a heart of gold and has been made with utmost good will. I hope that viewers around the globe will get to enjoy the big screen beauty of it - and maybe even be inspired to get a local acting troupe to stage the play.
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