An imaginative and somewhat disturbed young girl fantasizes about evil creatures and other oddities to mask her insecurities while growing up in rural Australia.An imaginative and somewhat disturbed young girl fantasizes about evil creatures and other oddities to mask her insecurities while growing up in rural Australia.An imaginative and somewhat disturbed young girl fantasizes about evil creatures and other oddities to mask her insecurities while growing up in rural Australia.
I must mention that I was way disappointed by the contents of the movie. If only because the plot summaries I read about it in diverse magazines turned out pretty wrong. They were like: "9-year-old Celia has no playmates except for her rabbit. When a policeman takes away the rabbit from her, she vows revenge." Alright, but that's not the gist of it. Celia is not an isolated or lonely little girl, first of all, she's rather horrifyingly lively. She does have playmates, three neighbour kids whose parents are communists. Celia actually spends more time with these kids and with their mother than she does with her own parents. Moreover, many scenes deal only with these children's play. Most of the time they play in some desert landscape, which seems kind of grotesque, where there is caves and rocks and sand - but hardly any people or animals. Grotesque - that's what the movie appears to be like. We have these two parties of kids: The children of the communists and the "communist haters" and they fight a rather serious battle. And we have that crazy idea of the government that rabbits were pests. I don't object to "grotesque" stories, but a certain deal of irony is required to make them enjoyable - this movie lacks irony.
Still we get a good impression of how complex the worlds children make up of their fantasy really are. We also learn how adults don't have any idea about the thoughts children have, about the crazy wars they deliver, about the friendship or the hate they feel. As this movie is seen through the eyes of a child, of course the adult's "play", i.e. the hate towards communists, is not dealt with very openly.
That wouldn't matter, if we were really offered the opportunity to identify with the child. But here the movie lacks care and empathy, we don't get close enough to little Celia - played by Rebecca Smart. This young actress doesn't do a bad job, that's for sure, but she isn't outstanding either. She's working about on the same level as the whole movie is.
I'll vote "6" for "slightly above mediocre", v e r y slightly, honestly.
- Dec 29, 1998