The Moochmore girls are certain they all suffer from some kind of undiagnosed mental illness - because if they're not crazy then they're just unpopular. Their mother Shirley - unable to cope with her demanding daughters and unsupported by her philandering politician husband, Barry - suffers a nervous breakdown. After Barry commits his wife to a mental hospital (telling his constituents that "she's on holiday") he finds himself alone with 5 teenage girls he barely knows. Desperate, he impulsively picks up a hitchhiker named Shaz and installs her in his home as nanny to his daughters. Written by
In an interview on Australian television, P.J. Hogan said that Mental is autobiographical, that his own father had his wife committed, hired a hitchhiker to babysit his children - he trusted her because she had a dog - and later found out that she was an escapee. See more »
When Trevor visits the Moochmores and drinks his beer at the table, the level in the mug changes up and down with each shot. See more »
America, Europe, Asia, and all the way down here is Australia. Alone. Isolated. Ever wonder why? Why we're down here?
Well, we were a penal colony.
That's the cover story, yeah, but historically where have they always sent the loonies? As far away as possible. You can't get any further away than Australia. We weren't a penal colony, we was a lunatic asylum. Our ancestors were loonies and this is the result. Have a look around. There's no such thing as normal, there's just different shades of ...
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Do you hear any voices? I'm hearing mine, can't stop laughing...
I will not write about a plot, that's done already, I'll write about what got me.
It's amazing the idea of P.J.Hogan to show us, that everybody is kind of "mental" and it starts straight in the title of the movie, when the letter E is falling apart. Then The name Moochmore is preparing us for a ride with "the sound of music", with the sound of mental disorders. Let's introduce some of the characters.
Shirley, mum of 5 daughters, is compensating the missing love of her husband with an ipad by singing, which is making her ridiculous in front of the other people and her relatives; by the way she is doing it in her back yard, so there should be little bit of a privacy in there, but the "watching neighbours" are everywhere. She is bullied by her sister - real psycho anyway, by the coffee shop manager and she tells for everything sorry. She explodes in shopping addiction and that's the last straw which is making her loving husband coming home and her going for a "holidays".
The father, Barry Moochemore, is mooching his wife for his upcoming elections, cheating on her and he hates his home, because he doesn't have a home with 5 boys but 5 daughters instead not knowing which one is which one. There is a quote after quote, for example: "Boys have breakdowns, dad." "Not Australian's boys. They are busy to play football." After naming some of the mental disorders by his girls he submit "No one is going mental. Not before I do!"
The history of Shirley and Barry tries to repeat with one of the daughters - Coral when her love affair starts with saying NO to Trout (I don't know if the names are chosen by accident or it's satiric as well - trout and coral working in an aqua park). We learned before that Shirley's love affair and marriage started with a rape.
Chaz, amazing Toni Collette, is a fatalist trying to fix up everybody's life with her Bible "Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders" showing them the real side of their personality. She explains to the girls, that it is normal to be mental in Australia because in the past there were sent only mad people and criminals to Australia to live and they are their's descendants. There is a lovely scene, when she is going to visit one of the "watching neighbours" and when they talk nasty about Moochmores they make this piggy sound while laughing so she starts to make it as well and they think that's totally normal, they even don't notice it.
I could go for ever and ever in the study of these characters, but watch it by yourself, because it is not first planning Hollywood type of comedy and that speaks for it self. Let's finish it with the words of Trevor:
"Everything is Sharks. Life is sharks. Mental is a shark."
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