A Month of Sundays | Movie Review

A MONTH OF SUNDAYS has been out for a little while now around Australia, I managed to be in an art house cinema on Cheap Ass Tuesday this week and I honestly saw crowds of seniors waiting to see it. This is a must see Australian dramedy (comedy drama) filmed in South Australia starring some of Australia’s best talent that looks into an “Aussie” bloke that is just coping and teetering on the edge of clinical depression. Sadly I could not make the press screening for this one but Kernel Jordan bought his own ticket to see it and then offered up a review, bless him! A MONTH OF SUNDAYS is out now from the fine folks at Madman Films, it is rated PG and runs for 110mins. Get out there and support this fine, locally made movie, not because it’s Australian but because it is awesome! Enjoy Kernel Jordan’s thoughts below……..all the best……JK.

 

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BY JORDAN DODD

This must be the first time in a long time that a locally produced film actually had a PR campaign behind it. Television, radio, the filmmakers did all they could to advertise A MONTH OF SUNDAYS to the citizens of the state it was made in, especially my fellow Adelaidian Anthony LaPaglia, who was obviously very passionate about this new film, and did his best to encourage our populace to get out and support South Australian cinema. He would be quite a familiar name to international audiences, I am guessing. Even more impressive is that this PR campaign was barely funded – it seems that 99% of Australian movies have a tiny budget to work with, and this is no exception.

Consequently, A MONTH OF SUNDAYS is the first Aussie film in a while to play at more cinemas than the one art-house theatre in the city centre. It is hard to convey just how rare that is for Australian movies in my city. THE WATER DIVINER was the last to go beyond the art-house cinema, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this was because it starred and was directed by Russell Crowe. It was far from a small, indie project such as this.

Back to A MONTH OF SUNDAYS though: real estate agent Frank Mollard (Anthony LaPaglia) is stuck, trying to find meaning in his life. Despite being a real estate agent he isn’t able to sell his own house, he isn’t able to disconnect from his ex-wife, and his teenage son is acting very much like a teenager, making life more difficult for Frank, who is a good person we get to know well. In fact, the character development here is magnificent. Perhaps it was the familiar Adelaide accents, but I felt like I knew each character by film’s end.

 

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Not long into A MONTH OF SUNDAYS Frank receives a call from his mother. He talks with her normally, despite the fact she died the year previous. This proves to be an important part of the story, as this call leads him to meet Sarah, an older woman who seems to remind Frank of his own mother. Sarah is played by Julia Blake, who nails the role, unsurprisingly given her experience. With both actors at the top of their game, it doesn’t take long for these two characters to form a rather awkward friendship, as they become closer and share more of their feelings with each other. Needless to say, when Sarah’s son Damien comes home and meets Frank, the awkwardness is not only apt, but brilliantly funny.

And this is where the movie scores most of its points – it is bloody funny! Frank’s awkward nature makes it near impossible not to laugh when he tries to connect with his son, or when he talks to his ex, a woman who he remarks is easier to talk to now that they are divorced. And of course his odd relationship with Sarah invites comedy, as does his character. His awkwardness slowly dissipates as the film goes on, as his improbable friendship with Sarah has obviously helped him cope with not only the loss of his mother, but also the situation with his ex-wife and son.

The funniest part of A MONTH OF SUNDAYS though is John Clarke, and I knew this would be the case from the start. He is most probably completely unknown outside Australia, but within Australia he is loved for his comic abilities; here he steals every scene he is in and it is bloody hard not to laugh, despite the humour often occurring during serious scenes. Clarke has been involved in Aussie television and film for as long as I can remember, and good on him for sticking to Aussie projects. He is still a feature on Aussie television and I can’t see him retiring anytime soon. Anything with his name on it, I will watch.

 

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Divorce, relationships of all kinds, including family, are the core of A MONTH OF SUNDAYS. Frank obviously regrets the relationship he had with his own mother, and add to that his disconnection from his son, he finds comfort in his friendship with Sarah, no matter how bizarre it might seem. The film also illustrates the relationship some potential home-buyers have with real estate agents, as there is a family that we see multiple times trying to buy houses Frank is in charge of selling. But they are all out of their price range, despite Frank having told them otherwise before the first auction they attended. Frank’s relationship with his boss is also explored, as we observe the dynamic between boss and employee, made more interesting by the fact that it is a real estate company.

Funny, extremely well-acted and beautifully shot in the familiar streets of my hometown, A MONTH OF SUNDAYS is a multifaceted movie that is serious at its heart, while still retaining a fantastic sense of humour. For the sake of our film industry, I hope this movie attracts international attention. Director Matthew Saville’s last project was FELONY, which we also reviewed and loved. In this reviewer’s humble opinion, with A MONTH OF SUNDAYS Saville leaps up the ladder, presenting a film that improves on FELONY in many regards.

 

4 and a Half Pops

 

 

Jordan Dodd is an aspiring novelist hailing from Adelaide, Australia. His first book is a chronicle of his experiences in a rehab centre that was more of a cult than anything else, and his goal is to finish it and pitch it to someone who matters. It can be found here. He also enjoys writing about film, which is probably his biggest obsession (apart from writing). When not writing for Salty Popcorn Jordan has his own website – he can be contacted via www.epilepticmoondancer.net

 

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