Synopsis by Tom Wiener
The life of a teen in an isolated small town is the subject of Australian writer/director John Duigan's film, set in 1962 in New South Wales. Duigan's coming-of-age story has many familiar elements -- Danny Embling (Noah Taylor) discovers his sexual attraction to a childhood playmate (Leone Carmen as Freya), he undergoes the taunts of bullies at his school, rages against the narrow-minded views of his parents and many of the townspeople, and comes under the influence of a sympathetic adult (Bruce Spence as Jonah, a would-be writer who lives in an abandoned railroad car). The twist is that Danny's rival for Freya's affections, Trevor (Ben Mendelsohn), is a Jewish jock who becomes Danny's friend by standing up to the bullies and treating Freya with more respect than the other boys do. Duigan, who had been making films in Australia since the mid-'70s, broke through to U.S. audiences with this film and its sequel, Flirting, in which Noah Taylor reprises the lead role.
adolescence, coming-of-age, Australia, discrimination, love-triangle, pregnancy, puberty, small-town, teenagers, unrequited
High Artistic Quality, Sleeper