The Eye of the Storm

This is a big comfortable star-studded family drama that takes place in Australia. It is based on a novel by Nobel laureate Patrick White. A wealthy dowager is in her final days and her two estranged adult children have come to say goodbye (and hear the reading of the will!).

Two things struck me: the delicious editing (three flaws are camouflaged in quick succession, for three different characters: a blotch on the skin, a "ladder" in a stocking, and a spot on a jacket); plus the award-winning production design (e.g., our dowager's wig and wrap are color coordin- ated with the furnishings). This 2012 Seattle International Film Festival entry from Australia is witty, professional and satisfying.

Many Australians are in the cast, I'll only talk about three characters:
  • Charlotte Rampling ("Melancholia") is the dowager. She is still the master of phony affection, loves private entertainments, and is proud of her "elegant sluttiness." Rampling is NOT Australian.
  • Geoffrey Rush ("The King's Speech") is her son, a washed-up actor, living on past glories. Wait until you hear him do King Lear standing in a muddy stock tank! Yup, he's an Aussie.
  • Judy Davis ("To Rome With Love") is her daughter, a divorced, impoverished has-been (at least she got to keep the "Princess" title). Davis too, is from Down Under.
These three heavy hitters are in their glory. Director Fred Schepisi ("A Cry in the Dark") uses them well despite an overly melodramatic third quarter. After all, those two children are only trying to "simplify" their dear mother's life by declaring her incompetent and claiming their inheri- tance early. Her long-time attorney has a major role and I was deeply grateful for his level-headed honesty!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Here is a link to a trailer:
* * * * * * * * * * * *