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Australia 2013
Directed by
Mark Lamprell
104 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


Synopsis: Elspeth Dickens (Laura Michelle Kelly) a lonely housewife, mother of twin boys and sometime singer-songwriter in rural Tasmania finds overnight success when her “Sink Songs” webcasts go viral.

It’s been 13 years since director Mark Lamprell brought us the reasonably appealing comedy My Mother Frank. Goddess which is based on a one woman show by South African born Joanna Weinberg, is not likely to kick-start a second wind career although I suspect that it will find a bigger audience in the UK than it will here. After all, not only are the two leads Brits but Lamprell, evidently aiming for a Mamma Mia! type of vibe milks the picture postcard visuals of rural Tasmania and Sydney for all they are worth in what is as romanticised a picture of life Downunder as only someone suffering under the grey skies of Old Limey could swallow.

Musicals, for this is what Goddess is supposed to be, are hardly realistic but the main problem with the film is that it can’t find the right balance between the irreality of the musical numbers and the naturalism which Lamprell is so bent on exploiting. It makes for a confusing mix as for instance in the first number when Elspeth performs in front of her kitchen sink the production values are so pumped that the core idea of the supposed D-I-Y aesthetic gets completely lost. It is a problem that dogs the film throughout. Although the numbers themselves are nicely presented they simply don’t fit with the main tenor of the film, Lamprell seemingly unable to deal with the anti-naturalism which is the essential feature of the musical. The result is that, whilst in themselves the songs are both clever and catchy, they don’t actually mesh with the story, which frankly borders on the incomprehensible. That, and the dreadfully forced tone (my God, those kids!!) of much of the film, leaves one with little to rhapsodize about.

British import Laura Michelle Kelly, who bears a striking resemblance to Nigella Lawson, is an enthusiastic and engaging performer and Ronan Keating acquits himself well with his vocalizing being particularly good, although most of the remaining cast are amateurish, albeit committed. The exception is Magda Szubanksi whose song and dance number with a crew of male dancers is given classic form by choreographer Kelley Abbey.

To its credit Goddess has tried, but in a way it has tried too hard. Let’s hope that ,seen from the Northern hemisphere, that isn’t so apparent.




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