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Monkey Grip (1982)

A frank portrayal of a year in the life of a divorced mother living in Melbourne, trying to cope with her daughter and her own relationship with a drug addict while trying to get into the music business.



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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Nora
... Javo
Alice Garner ... Gracie
... Willie
Candy Raymond ... Lillian
... Clive
... Martin
Christina Amphlett ... Angela
Don Miller-Robinson ... Gerald
Lisa Peers ... Rita
Cathy Downes ... Eve
Justin Ridley ... Roaster
Pearl Christie ... Juliet
Vera Plevnik ... Jessie
Jamie Fonti ... Ramondo


A frank portrayal of a year in the life of a divorced mother living in Melbourne, trying to cope with her daughter and her own relationship with a drug addict while trying to get into the music business.

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Loving, hurting, caring, fighting, winning, losing, all part of ... Monkey Grip




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Release Date:

17 June 1982 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Monkeygrip  »

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Did You Know?


Noni Hazlehurst received top / first billing, Colin Friels received second billing and Harold Hopkins received third billing. See more »


Javo: Come on babe, we can outlast the lot of 'em.
Nora: We see so little of each other we're bound to.
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Featured in One Hit Wonderland: "I Touch Myself" by Divinyls (2016) See more »


Written by Christina Amphlett & Mark McEntee
Performed by Divinyls
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User Reviews

Unoriginal but touching and honest adult Aussie drama...
11 June 2012 | by See all my reviews

Seems that Monkey Grip was seen to be quite a contentious film back in its day, its natural and often very revealing attitude to sex probably drawing in the wrong crowd, or at least for the wrong reason and the substantial junkie elements giving it an alienating edge.

Ken Cameron's 1981 film, that stars a very good and suitably natural Noni Hazlehurst and Colin Friels, is based on Helen Garner's semi- autobiographical novel and was highly praised by local critics, scooping an AFI (Aussie 'Oscar') best actress for Hazlehurst and nominations for cinematography, editing, supporting actress and Best Film.

Thirty odd years later and on another Continent, to a wider audience, how does it fare? The story isn't exactly a gripping one but a well-told one, that unfolds simply and for the most part remains interesting. Nora, a - early 30's ? - divorced mother of two pretty quickly falls for a ruggedly handsome bit actor, who is, unknown to her a heroin addict.

There follows a real, quite sensual sexual awakening for her but as his habit is quietly exposed (this is no Trainspotting!) she naturally finds this hard to take and as her dreams become ever more shattered, Javo's life becomes more chaotic and is arrested in Bangkok for theft.

Her personal quest to make it in the music business in her own right is an interesting sideline, but not the reason for watching the film. Those expecting sex, drugs and rock'n'roll actually do get all three, probably in that order but this is no typical rock lifestyle movie - it has depth, emotion and is essentially a decent drama that covers a number of people of varying interest and one that's decently involving.

As I said, it covers no new ground and should be targeted at those who want such and not an erotic junkie rock flick - those expecting the latter will be disappointed.

I watched the DVD as part of the 12 disc 'Australian Cinema Collection'.

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