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Waiting
Australia 1991
Directed by Jackie McKimmie
Running time 95 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars


Waiting opens with a heavily pregnant Noni Hazlehurst emerging from the waters of a river in which she has been swimming as Doris Day’s iconic 50s song “Que Sera, Sera” plays on the audio track. It is a strong and humorous scene that well characterises Jackie McKimmie’s self-penned portrait of a group of Australian women at the end of 1980s.

The film’s general premises of a group of friends/family getting together bears comparison to The Big Chill (1983) as well as Hannie Rayson’s1990 play, Hotel Sorrento, which was filmed by Richard Franklin in 1994, but it has its own character.

Hazlehurst plays Clare, a painter who has just been awarded the prestigious Moët & Chandon art prize. She’s waiting on the imminent birth so that she can take off for Paris in pursuit of her career as a painter. Once she starts to fell contraction she calls her friends. Therese (Fiona Press), Diane (Deborra-Lee Furness) and Sandy (Helen Jones), who come quickly to her side

McKimmie delivers a typology of characters - the principals being an overweight feminist single mother (Therese), a childless want-to-be mother (Sandy), a childless career woman (Diane), and as is gradually revealed, Clare who is a acting as a surrogate for Sandy's dream child. - in order to explore women's issues. As with any film that has a predetermined agenda driving the narrative and the performances, one tends to observe the film, rather than engage with it, with the film having many minor characters, male and female,  whose paths criss-cross over the hectic couple of days that the narrative occupies.

Shot in lush rural northern New South Wales but set in McKImmie's home state of Queensland and with veteran Ray Barrett as the crusty old Aussie Dad (he played a similar role in Franklin’s film), Waiting is a likeable enough film that that will resonate most with audiences who can identify with its lead characters and the heady days of the 80s.

DVD Extras: Two short films by the director; Theatrical trailer

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment

 

 

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