In 1962, a prepubescent boy in rural Australia watches painfully as his best friend and first love, an older girl, blossoms into womanhood and falls for a thuggish rugby player, setting off... See full summary »
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Parody of historical epics that focuses on real-life Australian explorers William John Wills and Robert O'Hara Burkes, who tragically tried to cross the Australian continent from the south, to the north, a distance of 3,250 km.
Danny has been sent to boarding school, in this sequel to The Year My Voice Broke. Against a backdrop of bullying and sadistic teachers Danny strikes up an affair with an African girl, Thandiwe, studying at a nearby girl's school. Their affair blossoms while everyone tries to stop it. Nicole Kidman also appears as a sexually repressed senior at Thandiwe's school.Written by
Matthew Stanfield <email@example.com>
I don't think fate is a creature or a lady... like some people say. It's a tide of events sweeping us along. But I'm not a fatalist, because I believe you can swim against it... and sometimes grasp the hands of the clock face... and steal a few precious minutes. If you don't... you're just cartwheeled along. Before you know it, the magic opportunities lost. And for the rest of your life... it lingers on in that part of your mind... which dreams the very best dreams... taunting and tantalizing ...
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(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon.)
Don't let the title fool you. Although this is one of the sweetest movies you'll ever see, it is no beach blanket bingo for bimbos. This is an Aussie story of teen love set in 1965, heroic as only teens can play it. It is fun to watch, authentic and original at the same time, a coming of age flick in the English boarding school tradition of "Dead Poet's Society" (1989) and "A Separate Peace" (the novel, not the so-so movie). Noah Taylor stars as Danny Embling, an outsider who reads Sartre and Camus while satirizing the school's empty traditions. Across the lake is the girl's school where Thandiwe Adjewa (Thandie Newton), daughter of the Ugandan ambassador, is learning to meld with the Aussie pale faces, including a gifted pre-Hollywood Nicole Kidman.
Thandie Newton and Noah Taylor, as beautifully directed by John Duigan, are the reasons this film is so good. She has a fearless integrity about her that overcomes the prejudices of her school mates. He is wise and brave at a hundred and twenty pounds. She too is ultra sophisticated. She even met Sartre. This is a story about the love between two outsiders who, with their strength of character win over not only their classmates, but the audience as well. Imagine teenagers as witty and poised as say Eartha Kitt and Gore Vidal, and you get a hint of how it's played.
Nicole Kidman as the snobby Nicola Radcliffe (the name says it all) manages a subtle supporting role with a diamond-in-the-rough kind of charm and just the right touch of on-screen growth. The scene where she shares her stash of vodka (or perhaps a clear fruit liquor) with Thandiwe Adjewa is beautifully turned by Director John Duigan. Also excellent is the hotel scene where the adults are revealed as intrusive in the extreme. I like Danny Embling's line as he deadpans to a re-robing Thandiwe, "They're all funny, aren't they?" Yes, those adults are a little peculiar.
This is not unflawed, however. The ending, despite the rousing music, seemed a bland washout, leaving us with a sense of disappointment. And I thought the first love scene with the two "touching" was a little unreal. I mean he might have kissed her! There's a limit to how great a coming of age, boarding school movie can be, especially when the adults have only scarecrow parts. Nonetheless "Flirting" is a confectioner's delight, and one of the best coming of age movies I've ever seen.
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