Lauren and Ned are engaged, they are in love, and they have just ten days to find Lauren's mother who has gone AWOL somewhere in the remote far north of Australia, reunite her parents and pu... Read allLauren and Ned are engaged, they are in love, and they have just ten days to find Lauren's mother who has gone AWOL somewhere in the remote far north of Australia, reunite her parents and pull off their dream wedding.Lauren and Ned are engaged, they are in love, and they have just ten days to find Lauren's mother who has gone AWOL somewhere in the remote far north of Australia, reunite her parents and pull off their dream wedding.
This film follows the mandated pattern: love, some misunderstanding of clumsiness that separates the lovers, a public pronouncement of love with cheering bystanders, happy ending - often a wedding and dancing. You have to have some strong comedic, but identifiably human characters. This serves that pattern well.
But it also has a few important differences. The first is the in your face charm of the land. I am immigrating to Australia so this grabs me deeper than it will you, dear reader. But it will likely grab you too, because the rom-com device here is place-as-heart. That is usually impossible to convey cinematically: vistas are containers, situations within which you place the characters and their emotions. Even Takashi Miike's 'The Bird People in China' or the obverse film, Zhang Yimou's obverse 'Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles' can only use place as space, and then only to annotate, even when they use the mystery of place and people.
Here you have a device no other place has: the people and the place share an identity. I don't know how well this would be conveyed to someone who knows nothing of the Aborigines, but the movie completely captures the notion by bringing souls to a physical place in the context of life commitment. The driver of 'place' as an agent is largely implied, making it so much stronger.
But there's also a more intriguing notion of love than usual. As with the standard rom-com model, it is the man that is the lead and the woman that acquiesces or not. But here the guy has some novel metaphors. Here he is already committed beyond the happy closeness of an early relationship and he explains why: his life is a room half filled with boxes that mean ('contain') little and he wants the rest to be full of flowers and jewels. This is after the metaphor is set up by someone in the parallel romance. And it becomes a complaint in the big breakup scene.
But the metaphor is strange enough that it steps out of the rom-com genre far enough to register as human; love for someone coming as much from the pull of attraction (and this woman is attractive) as from the innate need for companionship.
- May 6, 2019