Director John Duigan began the coming-of-age story of Danny Embling in the wonderful The Year My Voice Broke (1987), and continues it in this even more enjoyable and moving comedy-drama, set in 1965, three years on from the original film.
Noah Taylor reprises his role as the 17-year-old boy who moves from his small Australian outback town to St Alban’s College – an all-boys boarding school – where he suffers cruel taunts at boarding school because of his nervous stammer, un-sportsman-like physique and unsociable behaviour.
Across the lake is Cirencester College – an all-girls school – and it is during one of the occasions where the two schools get together that he meets and falls in love with beautiful Ugandan pupil, Thandiwe (Thandie Newton in her film debut).
Because she is black, Thandiwe is ostracised by most of the other girls and, thus, is on the same level as Danny (with his nervous stutter and un-sportsmanlike physique) in the social fabric of their respective schools.
A true gem, Duigan’s film is also notable for a brief appearance by Nicole Kidman, back on her native soil.