More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 37.08%
Average: 11.24%
Pretty Bad: 4.49%
Total Crap: 4.49%

6 reviews, 53 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Black Christmas (2019) by Peter Sobczynski

Richard Jewell by Peter Sobczynski

Dachra by Jay Seaver

Little Joe (2019) by Jay Seaver

Knives and Skin by Jay Seaver

Rabid (2019) by Rob Gonsalves

Irishman, The by Rob Gonsalves

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project by Rob Gonsalves

Kitchen, The (2019) by Rob Gonsalves

Whistleblower, The (2019) by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

[] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"A finely executed film for grown-ups about relationships, and a corpse."
4 stars

“Lantana” opens in that most intriguing of fashions, with the camera panning through thick underbrush to reveal a woman’s dead body. As the film gets underway, we are left to assume the corpse was a vision of what’s to come, and that one of our female characters is destined to wind up dead in the bushes. Who will it be? It piques our interest.

It is not properly a murder mystery, though that does figure in. “Lantana” is primarly a film about the amusing and poignant ways strangers’ lives intersect, and about how we tend not to value what we have until we lose it, or almost lose it.

Leon Zat (Anthony LaPaglia) is a police detective who has heart trouble and is prone to fits of violence. He is having an affair with Jane (Rachael Blake), whom he and his wife Sonja (Kerry Armstrong) know from their ballroom dance class. Jane is separated from Pete (Glenn Robbins) and lives next door to Nik (Vince Colosimo) and Paula (Daniella Farinacci) -- the only happily married couple in the film.

Sonja knows her marriage is in trouble, and she’s seeing a psychiatrist named Valerie (Barbara Hershey). Valerie’s 11-year-old daughter was murdered two years ago, and she’s written a book about the experience -- a deed her husband John (Geoffrey Rush) does not approve of. Their marriage has been in the rubbish heap since their daughter died, and now Valerie thinks John may be having an affair with her gay patient Patrick (Peter Phelps).

All of these relationships and indirect connections become relevant in light, playful ways, and then more seriously when someone turns up dead. What do men like John and Leon have to live for anymore?

The writer is Andrew Bovell, based on his play “Speaking in Tongues.” That title is more useful than “Lantana” is. “Speaking in Tongues” suggests the story’s theme of communication within relationships, while “Lantana” is a thick, bushy shrub -- presumably where that corpse was found. It is more metaphorical now: The seeds of skepticism have grown into a full-blown jungle of mistrust and fear among the characters. Without breaking through that obstacle, none of these people can be happy.

Director Ray Lawrence keeps things on an even keel, coaxing solid performances from all the leads and maintaining a brisk pace. These are, for the most part, believable and honest characters, though I'm not sure they always behave the way they would in real life. “Lantana” does not penetrate the heart the way it ought to, but it certainly make an impression.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 02/01/02 09:46:49
[printer] printer-friendly format  
For more in the Australian series, click here.

User Comments

7/29/08 john boring, uninteresting,, predictable, thinks its more intelligent than it is. 1 stars
2/13/07 MP Bartley Excellently acted...but is there enough here to warrant a second viewing? 4 stars
11/23/05 JBH If we hadn't been confronted by Kerry Armstrong's ugly face it would have been excellent. 4 stars
5/24/05 Jim You think you know what's going on, but you don't. 5 stars
5/10/05 Hack-SAW One of the BEST Aussie' movies ever... 5 stars
1/06/05 peter More of barbara hershey in the tight sweater plzzzz! was average 3 stars
7/30/04 Daveman Barbara Hershey is awful and the film is predictably melodramatic. 2 stars
7/25/04 john bale Top acting, script, explores dark relationships in suburbia. Best Aussie film in years. 5 stars
5/25/04 Greyhound Thought provoking 4 stars
4/23/04 Dianne Caruso Lantana made me sit and think for hours afterwards.It presented relevant Aus social issues 5 stars
3/09/04 Mr_Blue 2 words: Super Deluxe! And Normally I don't like that sentimental stuff, but this: SUPER 4 stars
3/09/04 alice great movie, good acting 4 stars
10/02/03 Fluffy Ears Henkelschmidt IV Colin Friels hopelessly miscast 2 stars
10/02/03 Mopsa Very difficult and painful, but good cinema 4 stars
1/28/03 Pinkline Jones Geoff Rush would be better placed in Pantomime - CRAP! 1 stars
12/28/02 Herb Crowell A total piece of drivel. A worthless pile of shit. 2 stars
12/02/02 Gruther Unninteresting 2 stars
10/23/02 shell lyons lantana is a film that demands multiple viewings in order to grasp its nuances 5 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock Very very good. An Oz classic. Authentic 5 stars
8/06/02 Monday Morning Way slow and filled with impossible coincidences. 3 stars
7/15/02 Phil M. Aficionado Well done in every respect. Startling for its insights into character and life circumstance 5 stars
6/08/02 ownerofdajoint a real headknocker......... 4 stars
6/06/02 The Bomb 69 interesting character study, solid performances, a little too coincidental though 4 stars
5/19/02 natasha very honest, very human 5 stars
5/11/02 Diamantopoulou Chrys Excellent casting and direction! 5 stars
3/23/02 naturalhealer7 Very strong performances and realistic examining of relationships. 4 stars
3/17/02 Teresa A mystery entangled in the lives of four couples. Interesting ending. 4 stars
3/04/02 bevan r clark a fucking masterpiece 5 stars
3/04/02 D. Jah-Voo Well done, but...boring! 3 stars
2/27/02 KCobain Tense, Engrossing, and powerful 5 stars
2/24/02 Pippa Funny and sobering with a twist of lust thrown in 4 stars
2/16/02 JB Not horribly entertaining, yet a true revelation of masculinity. 4 stars
2/09/02 Alex Ezander You love it 5 stars
2/08/02 Bonne I thought this movie really sucked. Sorry I wasted a good Sunday morning on it. 1 stars
2/06/02 Moe Snodgrass This film would have been okay if not for the inane music. I wanted to walk out but didn't. 3 stars
1/29/02 ona mccarthy the best film i've seen in a long time 5 stars
1/26/02 pipeman28 Excellent. Fucking Brilliant. 5 stars
1/14/02 Andrew Willams Simply brilliant ! 5 stars
1/05/02 Elizabeth Great acting, great script and (except for one) sympathetic and believable characters. 5 stars
12/22/01 Bruce Very intense and very real, one of the best movies of the year 5 stars
12/18/01 Jimbo One of the best this year 4 stars
12/17/01 Isla Like a delicious feast; YUM 5 stars
12/16/01 Janet Taylor Gripping! 4 stars
12/15/01 laaami best australian film of 2001 - perfect 5 stars
12/02/01 Glenn A masterpiece... excellent cinema here! 5 stars
11/21/01 Danny Moss engrossing, must pay attention to all of the subtle twists 5 stars
11/05/01 ^Elendil^ I'm probably too young to fully appreciate the territory it covered, but still brilliant 5 stars
11/04/01 tim meh 1 stars
10/22/01 Roxsy beautifully acted 4 stars
10/22/01 Jeremy Great acting and totally engrossing drama 5 stars
10/16/01 viking The most satisfying Australian drama since "Shine" 5 stars
10/10/01 Pierce Lanson Everyone will recognise friends and acquaintances in this best Aust. movie of the year. 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  25-Jan-2002 (R)



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast