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A writer, Ned Kendall, is asked to return to the family home by his sister Sally, to say goodbye to his father who is dying. The family home is in a very remote and isolated area. While back home, Ned starts having memories of his beautiful twin sister and himself when they were children. These memories awaken long-buried secrets from the family's past. Written by
British actress, screenwriter and director Rachel Ward's feature film debut which she wrote the screenplay for, is an adaptation of a novel from 1982 by American author Newton Thornburg (1929-2011) and was shot on location at Flinders Ranges, the largest mountain range in South Australia. It tells the story about Ned Kendall, a writer who returns to his childhood home in Wallumbi, a farm in the Australian countryside, with his young girlfriend Toni, an aspiring actress, in order to reconcile with his estranged father Bruce who is living at the farm with his daughter who takes care of him. Ned and Toni are warmly welcomed by Ned's sister Sally, but Ned's dying father is not as enthusiastic about his son's arrival. After having settled in Ned continues to write on his memoirs, but when secrets from the past reaches the surface and Toni learns about the strange relationship Ned had to his sister Kate, she leaves him.
Rachel Ward's engaging directorial debut, an Australian production, which was produced by the director's husband Bryan Brown and Leah Churchill-Brown is a character-driven psychological drama about a man haunted by memories of his adolescent years living at an isolated farm with his brother Cliff, his twin sister Kate and his strict father Bruce. With an efficient flashback narrative, this well-written independent film draws a vivid and intimate portrayal of an Australian family separated by a past which is converged with the present when a family member who abandoned his family several years ago returns to confront himself and his family with that still lingering past.
This atmospheric mystery which is set against the backdrop of the stately Flinders Ranges which becomes a significant character in this family tale, examines themes such as family relations, coming-of-age, sexual awakening, guilt, incest and reconciliation and is reinforced by the compelling cinematography by cinematographer Andrew Commis and the empathic acting performances by Australian actors Ben Mendelsohn and Bryan Brown, Australian actresses Rachel Griffiths and Maeve Dermody and newcomers Josh McFarlane and Sophie Lowe in their first feature film roles. A well-paced and in-depth study of character which gained, among other awards, the AFI Award for Best Supporting Actress Rachel Griffiths at the Australian Film Institute Awards in 2009 and the FCCA Award for Best Supporting Actress Rachel Griffiths and Best Supporting Actor Bryan Brown at the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards in 2010.
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