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Australia 1987
Directed by
John Duigan
105 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Year My Voice Broke

This well-observed and finely told rites-of-passage story, also written by Duigan, is beguiling and is deservedly recognized as one of the best Australian films of its day, winning 5 AFI awards including Best Picture in the year of its release. It invests the experience of growing up in a small New South Wales country town in the early 1960s with a poetic, mystic resonance by adopting the perspective of young Danny Embling (Noah Taylor) an intensely romantic young man with a crush on Freya (Loene Carmen), who, love being what it is, has eyes for the reckless and feckless Trevor (Ben Mendelsohn).

The main performances are excellent, particularly that of Taylor who is well-balanced by Carmen. Mendelsohn in the other main role is slightly grating, his manic cackling making him seem more like the village idiot than is probably deserved or credible to attract Freya whilst a raft of familiar faces of the period including Bruce Spence and Graeme Blundell fill out the minor roles with Judi Farr particularly good as Danny's mother. Although the story of the three young people provides the emotional core of the film, it is also to be treasured for its fastidious production design and evocative cinematography by Geoff Burton, both which contribute to the classic portrait of life in country Australia of the time.

FYI: Danny's story was followed in a 1991 sequel, Flirting, which kept much of the production team here and retained a comparable quality.

Available from: Village Roadshow




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