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Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Month of Sundays


By now you'll know that I'm an incurable movie buff. I am especially fond of Australian movies and a month without seeing at least one Australian movie feels like a Month of Sundays which is what the latest one is called.

As its title suggests, the movie doesn't exactly rocket along. Instead, its pleasures unfold gradually, but they are there in larger measure than one might expect from the story of a middle-aged, depressed real estate salesman in Adelaide.

The main protagonist is Frank Mollard, a man who has never met an emotion he couldn't suppress – until now. His wife Wendy has divorced him since her success as an actor on a medical TV show; his morose teenage son Frank Junior doesn't want to know him; his boss Phillip thinks he'd sell more houses if he wasn't always "in a mood".

We observe Frank trudging through his job, house after house, as if drugged. He is so unfit to be selling real estate that you wonder why Phillip, a man so untroubled by conscience, would keep him on.

Very few Australian movies care or dare to tackle the shortcomings and strengths of the ordinary Aussie bloke. This one does it almost by stealth. We're not sure what makes Frank tick, but we can see there is something wrong with his clock.

This film is brilliantly funny, in that bone-dry way we associate with John Clarke.