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Simply beautifully filmed, with Natalie Imbruglia as Elise, who has lost her sister under mysterious circumstances in 1987. They live on Semaphore Beach in Australia, she now lives with her mother who wallows in deep depression from loss of her husband, and then her eldest daughter Frances.
Elise wonders what happened to her sister as they went to the beach daily the summer Frances disappears. She works at an aimless job at a movie theater, models for her friend who asks why she wastes time dating Marvin. "he loves me, he really does" she wants things simple. She imagines at times seeing her sister at a nightclub, or walking the beach.
The set decoration is realistic, Elise's mother a waitress lets the house go when husband dies, the pink and green tile and cheap paint in kitchen reflect a kind of disorder. Elise's mother spends the next 20 years cutting out news articles about other missing children.
The beach itself portrays a sense of loss, then renewal after turmoil...seems trite but it isn't in this film: there is no real answer to anything, it is like having a loss in real life.
I lost my mother to an accident in the 1990's and I suppose this film has special cadence for me. The loss, why did it happen...we see all of this as Elise wanders the beach, lives a half existence with her depressed and depressive mother.
This is a niche film, it should be seen a few times to pick up the hints and nuances. Ultimately Elise finds internal spirit, it is subtle but we see as she plants the seaweed garden and moves on with life: it is never easy but somehow people go on, and Elise moves forward deciding not to live within the pain any longer. Highly recommended, especially for anyone who has felt deep loss. 10/10.
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