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Overall Rating
3.02

Awesome: 15.22%
Worth A Look32.61%
Average: 19.57%
Pretty Bad: 4.35%
Total Crap: 28.26%

2 reviews, 34 user ratings


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Somersault
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by EricDSnider

"A Sheila who's a little too fond of the Bruces."
3 stars

You see, in Australia, everything is backwards. Our winter is their summer. Our vermin is their dinner. Our dull, navel-gazing coming-of-age stories are their best films of the year, worthy of sweeping the Australian Film Institute awards.

How a down-to-earth country like Australia grew so attached to the pretentious "Somersault," I have no idea. The feature debut of writer/director Cate Shortland, it is the story of a trampy 16-year-old girl named Heidi (Abbie Cornish) who runs away from home after her trampy mother catches her kissing her -- that is to say, Mom's -- boyfriend. What happens when Heidi runs away? Why, a personal journey of discovery, of course!

Believing she can get a job working for a man she once slept with (it is implied), she goes to a rural ski-resort town currently in the off-season. It's a tiny village where everyone knows everyone else, and where her first instinct is to make money by prostituting herself. When that fails, she takes a job as a cashier in a convenience store, working alongside a girl her age named Bianca (Hollie Andrew), who takes a fast disliking to her.

With an apartment sublet to her by the kindly motel proprietress Irene (Lynette Curran), Heidi establishes something of a life in the town. She even acquires something of a boyfriend, Joe (Sam Worthington), who is periodically aloof and who might have personal issues of his own to work out. (The film gives them a passing glance, then ignores them.)

That Heidi has a skewed perspective of sexuality is a given, and it's plain she learned it from her mother (Olivia Pigeot), who looks like she could be her sister and who isn't much of an example of healthy grownup behavior. But though the film shows us Heidi's constant cycle of feeling miserable, trolling for sex, then feeling miserable again, it doesn't delve into her character any deeper than that.

The film has an ethereal beauty to it, though, at least visually. Shortland was going for melancholy, and she sure got it. Robert Humphreys' cinematography is actually quite lovely, with a lot of scenes set in either the pale blues of midnight or the grayish blues of dawn, and the colors establish the tone nicely. So, too, does Heidi's fascination with scrapbooking -- remembering the past wistfully -- though I probably could have done without the moment where Heidi literally looks at the world through rose-colored glasses (ski goggles, actually). Ditto the one where Joe looks through a rose-colored drinking glass. It's cute when metaphors come to life, but come on.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9634&reviewer=247
originally posted: 06/07/06 09:35:08
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For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sydney Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Atlanta Film Festival For more in the 2005 Atlanta Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/30/09 IPF Sam Worthington was great in it, otherwise a tad slow. 4 stars
9/14/08 Wigsy Yawned so wide it made a watermelon look like a tictac 1 stars
1/15/07 William Goss Abbie sleeps around and I don't care. Terribly tedious and unworthy of all that acclaim. 2 stars
1/02/07 Eugene Give me a break! 1 stars
6/11/06 Andrew Virtually improvised. Tableaux dont make drama. No virtue in incoherent plot. 2 stars
8/06/05 Dan Jesus Bloody Christ this was boring. Pretentious crap! 1 stars
4/18/05 joe&elly Unimpressed, no redeeming characters, no message, photography was forced &painful to sit th 1 stars
4/11/05 asdf asdf 1 stars
3/09/05 molly Where stupidity is presented as innocence 1 stars
1/18/05 Dominic Worthless Trash 1 stars
11/23/04 alien assassin Poetic 5 stars
11/19/04 Fergus Disturbing and touching - a challenge to watch! 4 stars
11/18/04 Roz Riley An interesting idea but insufficiently explored. 3 stars
11/09/04 Patria Too complex for many viewers. 4 stars
11/08/04 Dave The most boring film I have ever had the misfortune to endure. 1 stars
10/28/04 mel deep script, well presented. but would it have the same impact with half the nudity???? 5 stars
10/25/04 KEN BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHY AND WELL ACTED 4 stars
10/24/04 Dyzzy Excellent, honest depiction of Australian youth 4 stars
10/11/04 Gabe Where to get the SCRIPT? 4 stars
10/05/04 julie boring trite 1 stars
10/05/04 dan lost in translation's ugly cousin 1 stars
10/02/04 E.Ricky.S My first time of walking out from the cinema in less than 30 mins 1 stars
10/02/04 D. O. An Australian Film to match & better its European counterparts. 5 stars
10/01/04 Di Edwards Beautifully shot, gripping story, sucks you in all the way 4 stars
9/30/04 Verity Dodat A bourgeois soapie for the faux literary set. Bildungsroman by numbers. 1 stars
9/26/04 D borrows from Man of Flowers, overdone yet well done 4 stars
9/20/04 Battery Tricky? Do you stand back and watch or do you lend a hand 3 stars
9/10/04 Geoff Anderson Superb 5 stars
9/09/04 dan typical dull aussie crap 1 stars
9/09/04 JT Over Stylized, Distracting. Reeks of Film School techniques. 3 stars
9/08/04 faceman hooray 5 stars
8/24/04 ron best aussie movie in years, sam worthington outstanding once again 5 stars
6/27/04 Jane Mills lovely film, superbly driected 4 stars
6/01/04 Matthew Somerton stunning best auusie film in years 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Apr-2006
  DVD: 25-Jul-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Sep-2004




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