Small town New Zealand. A twelve-year-old girl, Tui (Jacqueline Joe) is found in a cold lake, possibly suicidal. When it is revealed that she is pregnant, it sends things into a spin. Luckily, Robin (Elisabeth Moss) is in town. She is a police officer who specialises in working with children. The local police, including boss Al (David Wenham) are reluctant to let her in the ranks, but she will not let go. Then there is Tui’s family; her mother lives away from them, Tui lives with her family, extreme bad-buy and sleaze ball Matt (Peter Mullan) and his adult sons. Add to the mix a ‘guru’, GJ (Holly Hunter) who has brought a group of battered women to a piece of property on the lake that may or may not have been legally sold to her. And then there is Robin’s background, never far away.
Depressing as hell. One of my mates couldn’t get through it, feeling increasing sucked into the darkness of this world. And it is dark. But wonderful. It has all the beauty and complex story telling that you would want coming from director Jane Campion. Wow.
Eddie (David Wenham) seems to have it all. A beautiful wife and daughter, a house in the suburbs, a good job. But how quickly things change.
It’s a long film which meanders through a depressing tale. I felt as though it covered a bit too much; really, the whole storyline with Gerard was pretty unnecessary and everything else could have still happened without too much stress. Even the ‘catch’ of the film (Eddie bumps into a girl, a friend from primary school, every how every nine-and-a-half years and he only has three dollars) was a bit forced. I think that the film would have worked just as well without this catch, because it was all about the relationships and how they worked with each other.
I first saw this film maybe five years ago, and I recall finding that it dragged and annoyed me. When it was recently repeated on SBS, I decided to give it a go and was delighted to find that I really enjoyed it. It’s not sadtacular, but it’s not far off.
Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson) is social worker who discovers a secret the British government have keep quiet for many years; many orphans or children that parents could not afford to raise were sent to Australia or Canada and put into orphanages. The film is based on a true story and sees Humphreys travel to Australia and meet adults who were raised in one particular Catholic home were the children were abused both physically and sexually.
It’s very full on and very good. A really terrible episode in the world and here is the story of it. Phew. I cried a lot. A lot a lot.