Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Introducing the Dwights (2006)

This little gem from Australia is an example of how many films made outside the US are comfortable wrestling with family issues without offering a quick solution. Jean Dwight (Brenda Blethyn) is an entertainer still chasing her big break. She does bawdy stand-up, mostly aimed at her estranged husband (also a performer). Her son, Tim, usually drives her to her shows, watches and brings her back to their home.

Jean does her best to be a good mom, but her issues complicate this process. She hasn't achieved her dreams of success, but she thinks she's close. She's overly involved in her two boys' lives. Her disabled son Mark lives a full life. When Tim meets Jill, Jean has to confront her detachment anxiety. Tim confronts his own anxiety when he can't spend the night at Jill's because he doesn't want to upset his mother. The writer and/or director approached this as a serious issue, rather than making it a comedic twist. It isn't until Jean sees Mark with a girlfriend and hears him tell her he loves her that Jean realizes she's finally lost all control. Jean, Tim, Jill and Mark must confront the chaos as their household erupts in drama. This coming-of-age film puts Jean into the uncomfortable position of having to let go of Tim, whist Tim starts building his own life and reaching for his dreams.

Relationship complexities are probed and ample time is provided for the viewer to get tangled up in the characters' motivations. We don't always do the right thing. Sometimes, we get caught up in pride or being right. This movie hits that head-on, no shortcuts taken.


Themes: coming of age, mother-son relationships, jealousy, ambition

Director: Cherie Nowlan

Genre: Nicely combined drama/comedy

Country: Australia

Time: 106 minutes

Scale: 3.5

No comments: