An intelligent, downbeat coming-of-age film set in a small country town in Australia in 1962.
The 15-year-old protagonist Danny (Noah Taylor) suffers heartbreak when the girl he loves – his best friend, the beautiful and free-spirited Freya (Loene Carmen) – becomes pregnant by older boy Trevor (Ben Mendelsohn) and then leaves town.
Danny was always convinced that Freya would fall for him if he could become witty and entertaining. Unfortunately, all his hopes die a miserable death when she meets extroverted wild boy, Trevor.
Danny thinks that Trevor is a meathead thug, but glumly admits that this thug is also the star of the local football team. Freya is entranced, and – miserably – Danny watches his best friend and Trev fall in love.
The young actors in the lovesick triangle – Taylor, Carmen, and Mendelsohn – bring their characters to life with subtle authority. Carmen is terrific as the free-spirited Freya – beautiful in a natural way, and her personality shines through.
The two male leads are equally impressive. Mendelsohn and Taylor have charisma and the ability to cope equally well with comedy and drama.
Top Australian actors like Bruce Spence, Graeme Blundell, Nick Tate and Judi Farr are used in crucial but minor roles to tighten and streamline what is actually a very complex film.
The much-acclaimed Flirting (1989), with Nicole Kidman, was a sequel of sorts in which Danny, played again by Noah Taylor, goes to boarding school.
Dorothy St. Heaps