Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailers; Scene Selection; Photo Gallery;
Colour Booklet; Director's Commentary; Biographies And Filmographies;
THE coming of age drama is given a haunting makeover by director,
Christine Jeffs, in Rain, a quietly foreboding tale of a 13-year-old
girl coming to terms with her sexuality.
Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki stars as Janey, a bored teenager who
is once again forced to watch as her family settle into their
isolated cottage for another seaside holiday in 1970s New Zealand.
However, while spending her days teaching her brother how to
swim, Janey watches from the sidelines as her parents drink and
host parties for other holidaymakers in the evenings, observing
the burgeoning relationship between her flirtatious mother, Kate
(Sarah Peirse), and roguish photographer Cady (Marton Csokas).
And as their ensuing affair threatens to tear Kates marriage
apart, Janey decides that she wants Cady for herself, and sets
about challenging her mother for his affections.
Rather like an approaching storm on the horizon, Jeffs
film has an air of tragic inevitability about it, which could
threaten to undermine the dramatic weight of proceedings.
It is a credit to the director, therefore, that the film retains
its sense of sorrow and loss throughout, arriving at its denouement
with plenty of force and leaving a lasting impression.
Much of this is achieved through the cleverness of Jeffs
direction, which expertly makes use of the distinctive landscapes
to convey her characters emotions, as well as the various
techniques she employs, which occasionally lends proceedings an
almost surreal, dream-like quality.
She also coaxes a terrifically restrained performance from young
Fulford-Wierzbicki, who strikes a near-perfect balance between
the fragile naivety of her age, with the more fiery temperament
of a young girl struggling to realise her sexuality.
Her seduction of Cady is well-realised and provides the catalyst
for the films sombre conclusion.
Neil Finns brooding score also serves to lend the film
its haunting feel, enhancing the visual impact of Jeffs
And while the film may ultimately prove to arty or
ponderous for the majority of the mainstream crowd - who tend
to prefer their coming-of-age dramas with a little
more flesh and a little more gross-out - it is a thoughtful, memorable
piece, which more than justifies the directors inclusion
on Varietys ten directors to watch list.