Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Australia 1991
Directed by
John Duigan
99 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars


Shorn of the paradigmatically Australian country town setting and with a misleading title, writer/director John Duigan's sequel to The Year My Voice Broke (1987) is nevertheless a rewarding film.

It is now 1965 and Danny (Noah Taylor) is at boarding school. Here he meets Thandiwe, a beautiful African girl from sister boarding school, Cirencester College, and the two fish-out-of-water commence their first love.

Although at times falling into the over-familiar (the young lovers skipping stones, Danny smelling his fingers for traces of his first sexual encounter), Duigan's impressively-made film is not only a well-observed and often funny account of boarding school life, it is remarkable insofar as it transcends the usual vernacular characteristics of Australian film. These are here, predominantly in the form of Danny's fellow boarders, although Duigan broadens the cultural mix with his characters, not only Thandiwe but the very British Nicola Radcliffe (Nicole Kidman) and Gilbert Fryer (Bartholomew Rose).

It is however in the determinedly self-contained character of Danny, who relates more to 1950s Parisian existentialism than to his parochial surroundings, and the way in which events are seen through his eyes that gives the film its magically, wistfully romantic universality, not a little enhanced by the impressive production design that effectively creates a special place, enhanced by the glow of Danny's memories, that enable the young lovers to glide effortlessly between the two Victorian Gothic schools set on opposite sides of a moonlit lake.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst