An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to compete.
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 »
Are you one of Dr Thornbender's patients as well?
Yep. And I love her. And I don't like whiteys as a rule, but Shaz... Shaz isn't white. She's a new colour. She's mauve.
It's true, Shaz, you're mauve. You're fucking mauve. Now Shaz knows. She knows. She's gonna change your fucking life.
That's the impression I get.
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I love psychodramas, so the chance to see Toni Collette in a film touching on mental illness was too good to miss. I was stunned to hear that the underlying story of this movie is true! Some reviewers have labeled the plot as complicated and bumpy - and it is - sort of like real life. However the plot is less important than the characters and the underlying themes. The cast is superb, particularly Collette, Gibney and newcomer Lily Sullivan as the eldest daughter. The characters are rich and complex, except for the father (played well by LaPaglia) who is a bit too one dimensional. I preferred the way The United States of Tara handled the issue of being partner to someone with severe mental illness.
However it is the underlying issue of the way mental illness, normality and conformity are experienced and perceived in our society that shines. JP Hogan does not preach or present a one-sided view - rather we see normality as complex and nuanced. Collette plays the deeply flawed yet strangely inspirational Shaz who serves to provoke, challenge and sometimes overturn the other characters' views of normal. Modern psychiatry is neither approved nor mocked. The "normal" characters are revealed as sometimes shallow and fragile - not as normal as they seem.
The comedy ranges from subtle, to ocker, to cartoonish and melodramatic. Not everyone will like it. Some scenes are just plain absurdist.
I suspect that like Muriel, this is a multi-layered film that will actually stand up to repeated viewing. As for the tag line - well it's going to be hard not to laugh whenever my friends talk of "going to Wollongong" - and I can say that because it's where I live.
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