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kcd1961

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Mental (2012)
19 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Serious fun, 14 October 2012
8/10

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.