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Australia 1979
Directed by
Michael Pate
109 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars


As Tim, a sweet-natured, mentally-challenged (then "retarded") young man, Mel Gibson picked up the Best Actor AFI. Fortunately for him Mad Max, the film that gave him his career boost to the big time, was also released the same year.

Whilst too seductively good-looking to be truly credible as the son of rutabageous working class parents (played by the well-cast Alywn Kurts and Pat Evison), Gibson does much more than simply offer an attractive physical presence, sustaining his role with understated concentration. Opposite him, Piper Laurie, in a role originally conceived of by Pate, who also wrote and produced this film, with Julie Harris in mind is equally good as the middle-aged spinster who takes him under her wing and eventually falls in love with and marries him. Based on a novel by popular writer Colleen McCullough, the film takes a rather sentimental approach to what is a potentially controversial subject and is unnecessarily long but considered as a morally affirmative rather than a realist film, it does its job well and certainly for its time, when Australian film was predominantly given over to historical subject matter, is a commendable effort.




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