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The Sum of Us (1994)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 8 March 1995 (USA)
A widowed father has to deal with two complex issues: while he is searching for "Miss Right," his son, who is in his 20s and gay, is searching for "Mr. Right."


David Stevens (screenplay), David Stevens (play)
6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Thompson ... Harry Mitchell
Russell Crowe ... Jeff Mitchell
John Polson ... Greg
Deborah Kennedy ... Joyce Johnson
Joss Moroney Joss Moroney ... Young Jeff
Mitch Mathews Mitch Mathews ... Gran
Julie Herbert Julie Herbert ... Mary
Des James Des James ... Football Coach
Mick Campbell Mick Campbell ... Footballer
Donny Muntz Donny Muntz ... Ferry Captain
Jan Adele Jan Adele ... Barmaid
Rebekah Elmaloglou ... Jenny Johnson
Lola Nixon Lola Nixon ... Desiree
Sally Cahill Sally Cahill ... Greg's Mother
Bob Baines ... Greg's Father


Set in Sydney, Australia. A (heterosexual) father and his gay son are trying to find Ms/Mr Right respectively. The film shows their relationships with one another and the objects of their affection as tradgedy strikes. There is no overt 'message' in the film, just a very natural, entertaining story-telling. Written by Fred Curtis <fred@cs.su.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dad's looking for Mr. Right, his son's looking for Mr. Right. [Australia Theatrical] See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


According to Russell Crowe, John Polson asked to practice the tentative kissing scene between Jeff Mitchell and Greg. Crowe declined the request and said, "here's the way to do it mate: you close your eyes, I'll close my eyes, we'll just come together and I bet we remember how to do it!", and the scene was improvised. See more »


Harry Mitchell: Your grandmother said that to me once. 'The greatest explorers', she said, 'are the explorers of the human heart'.
Jeff Mitchell: Is that why she became a dyke?
Harry Mitchell: Your grandmother was not a dyke!
Jeff Mitchell: She was licking Aunt Mary's pussy for forty years, what else do you call it?
Harry Mitchell: She was not a dyke! A lesbian, perhaps... You shouldn't call her names! How would you like it if I went around and called you 'pansy', 'fairy', 'poofter'?
Jeff Mitchell: You do half the time!
Harry Mitchell: Only when I'm annoyed with you!
See more »


Featured in Century of Cinema: 40,000 years of dreaming (1997) See more »


Sister Madly
Written by Neil Finn
Performed by Crowded House
Courtesy of EMI Music Australia
See more »

User Reviews

Russell Crowe gets the "Maximus" out of an early role...
13 June 2003 | by cchaseSee all my reviews

Saw this again for the first time for almost a decade, on the Sundance Channel during their Pride Festival. The character-to-camera (audience) device seems a lot stagier now than it did when I first saw it, but overall it doesn't mar any of the film's inherent bittersweet attraction.

I've always been a sucker for good father/son relationship movies, and this ranks up there with the best, and not because of the twist: Harry's (Jack Thompson) almost too-willing acceptance of his son's gayness. What makes it ultimately work is the true love, respect and affection that they have for one another, a bond that is sorely tested in the film's third.

Thompson is funny and engaging in a kind of role that he's not usually known for, (for that, see the excellent BREAKER MORANT.) And as for Russell...I saw this for the first time only weeks after seeing ROMPER STOMPER, and not only was it a startling contrast, but a sure-fire sign that this boyo was a talent to watch even in the early stages (now proven a thousand times over.)

And here's another refreshing difference: nobody's in OTT drag, (you can rent TO WONG FOO for that), nobody gets AIDS, OD's, commits suicide or otherwise meets the Grim Reaper most tragically, as gay characters are wont to do in most big-budget Hollyweird "gay-friendly" dramas.

David Stevens writing remains true to the joys of "Australiana" (a new word that I love, thanks to an earlier reviewer here), which means that some less-experienced viewers may find Harry's extremely tolerable demeanor and the turn from comedy to tragedy off-putting. (For other references to similar scenarios, see MURIEL'S WEDDING, SWEETIE and of course, MOULIN ROUGE.)

But for me, it's a rare-look back at the kind of risk-taking that Russell may never again explore in his career. More than worth the cost of a rental or your time, if you can catch it.

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Release Date:

8 March 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sum of Us See more »


Box Office


AUD3,465,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$38,479, 12 March 1995

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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