Looking for Alibrandi Having a laugh. Amid the trials of being a teenager in Sydney, Josie (Miranda) finds romance with the unlikely Jacob (Gurry).
dir Kate Woods scr Melina Marchetta
with Pia Miranda, Greta Scacchi, Anthony LaPaglia, Elena Cotta, Kick Gurry, Matthew Newton, Kerry Walker, Leanna Walsman, Diane Viduka, Leanne Carlow, Michael Gallina, Tyrone Lara
release St Louis Film Fest Nov.00
awards best film, director, actress Miranda, original screenplay and editing (Australian Film Institute 2000).
00/Australia 1h43 4 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
A perfectly observed comedy about teen angst, family relations and ethnic subcultures, Looking for Alibrandi is also that rare Australian film that lacks quirky, zany comic characterisations. Warm, witty and thoroughly enjoyable.

At 17, Josie Alibrandi (Miranda) is a third-generation Alibrandi woman. Her mother (Scacchi) and grandmother (Cotta) are also fiercely independent, sharp-witted Italian Catholics. But Josie has never known her father (Lapaglia)--and doesn't really think he exists. Then his arrival in Sydney coincides with her budding romance life--will she go for the gorgeous rich John (Newton) or the scruffy, sharp-witted Jacob (Gurry)?

There's a natural humour running through this film that makes it utterly disarming--it completely sucks you into its characters and situations. Woods' direction and Marchetta's script are sometimes a bit too zingy--the dialog crackles at top speed. But they're also not afraid to turn the tone around 180 degrees at times, dipping into some wrenching emotion without losing the film's momentum at all. The performances are first-rate across the board, especially from newcomer Miranda, who captures the character with a startling authenticity that sucks us into her life in all its complexity. And while her snappy narration and wacky fantasies sometimes cross the line into farce, we still identify with the cry of her soul as she tries to figure out who she is, "Please God don't let me be a loser!"

[themes, language] 5.Nov.00

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READER REVIEWS

"We thought it was the best movie we have seen for a long time. Kick Gurry and Pia Miranda were sensational and were great together." --Eric and Sharon Dixon, Australia 13.Feb.03

2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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