Coming of age: Heidi, 15, runs away from home after her mom sees her kissing mom's boyfriend. She goes to a Snowy River resort where a vague job offer doesn't pan out. She manages to find a place to live and a job at a convenience store. She's between childhood -- nursery rimes and a scrapbook of glittery unicorns - and adulthood - working, sorting out emotions and sexuality, and dealing with social slights and false charges of bad behavior. She's attractive and her loneliness makes her vulnerable. She sleeps with Joe, the son of local ranchers, and she awakens in him feelings he can't express. Is there any way she can put off adulthood and be a kid awhile longer?Written by
Made a clean sweep of the Australian Film Institute awards in 2004 to win in all 13 film categories - the first time this has ever occurred in the award's history. It beat the previous record of eleven AFI awards by The Piano (1993). See more »
When Joe pours hot water onto the icy windscreen of his car, no steam appears. See more »
You know when you were a kid, did your mum ever used to spray perfume in the air and sort of walk through it?
She's like that.
No... see, when you leave you still feel her on your skin.
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A Vague but Appealing Indie Film about Sexual Awakening
There is a moment in Cate Shortland's "Somersault" where Joe (Sam Worthington), a surly and emotionally closed-off young man confused over the feelings he has for his kind-of girlfriend Heidi (Abbie Cornish), shows up at the home of an openly gay acquaintance of his mother's andafter downing several shots and spilling his guts to the older manfollows him into the hallway and makes an awkward pass at him by planting a drunken kiss on him. It's a surprising twist in both Joe's development as a character and the movie itself, but it's just one of several similarly unexpected--and unexplained--moments that define Shortland's oddly compelling drama about sexual coming-of-age. Joe is not the main character, nor does the film ever revisit his attempt at same-sex experimentation, and it's that vague attention to detail that is the most frustrating aspect of the movie. The story actually belongs to Heidi, an evidently emotionally troubled teenager with no concept of propriety who, for no apparent reason, decides to make a pass at her mother's hunky boyfriend. When mom comes home and catches the two kissing, she freaks, and Heidi runs away to a neighboring town. There, she shacks up in the small flat of an empathetic motel owner, gets a job at the local BP service station, and has sex with a string of guys. It is Joe, however, that most captivates her, and their awkward and strained attempts at forging a relationship are some of the most authentic captured on celluloid. Both of them are plagued by troubles that are never explored (apparently, Heidi once tried to commit suicide, as is evidenced by the scars on her wrists), but as they begin to open up to each other, the movie becomes more fascinating and oddly romantic. Shortland's direction is as languid as her ambling script (a bit more back story on the characters would have made them more three- dimensional), but her style is effective nonetheless, providing a showcase for the talents of both Worthington and Cornish, two young Aussie up-and-comers who appear to have big futures ahead of them. Grade: B.--Originally published in IN Los Angeles Magazine.
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