I love that special feeling I feel when I watch a movie that just seems to have the perfect formula. In a time of blockbusters and remakes I must admit that I feel that feeling a lot less than I used to, but then every now and then a movie like June Again comes along.
This is a movie where it feels like everything came together and aligned perfectly. You’ve got a brilliantly talented cast, a captivating storyline and a director that knows how to mix just the right amount of comedy into a plot that for the most part is thought-provoking and written with heart.
Directed by JJ Winlove (Life Is Risky) June Again tells the story of what happens when June (Noni Hazlehurst – Little Fish) gets temporary lucidity from her crippling dementia. She has spent the past few years in a home for the elderly unaware of anything that has been happening around her.
Now it feels like June has woken up and she is shocked to discover that her daughter, Ginny (Claudia Karvan – Daybreakers), is struggling to keep the family’s once successful business afloat and that her son, Devon (Stephen Curry – The Cup) is now divorced from his wife and no longer pursuing a career in architecture. The changes stun June to the point where she decides that she must do something to change them with the little time that she may have left.
What Winlove has created here I found to be a beautiful film. It is a heartfelt story about a mother doing whatever she can to help her family despite the battles of her own. I am not sure that I have ever said this about a film before but what Winlove has created here is the perfect Mother’s Day film.
Winlove doesn’t push any boundaries with this film – he doesn’t need to. This is a story with such a natural feeling that the characters at hand could be your next-door neighbours. It is great to see a film that doesn’t have over-exaggerated Hollywood tropes and instead just goes about trying to capture the Australian way of life, without having characters that are either bogans, ockers or any other form of stereotype.
The story here captivates the audience. You feel for June the moment that you see her but you also understand where her children are coming from when they beg their mother not to interfere in their lives. This is largely a film about seeking happiness and I know I could gush about how important that is in today’s society all day.
As you would expect from a cast of Australian acting royalty the performances here are a tour de force. Hazlehurst leads the way with an amazing performance that will be loved by those who enjoyed her work in films like Little Fish and Candy. Likewise it is great to see Karvan get another chance to show her skills on the big screen – I have always loved her work on Australian TV and I have always thought it was a shame that she hasn’t had more opportunities in film.
Wrapping up the cast though is Stephen Curry who is almost called upon to be the ‘sad clown’ in this film. While many people often remember Curry’s comedic roles most forget his amazingly scary performance in Hounds In Love. Here Curry is asked to play a character whom masks his pain with quick witted jokes and a smiley persona and he does it remarkably well.
There are some that may think June Again is going to be a light and fluffy film but I am here to say that they are very, very wrong. This is a film with heart but it is also a thought-provoking film that at times has the power to bring a tear or two to its audience.