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GIRL CLOCK!: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Back from a photo assignment in exotic places, Christine (Veronica Neave) finds that her biological clock has gone off with a vengeance and getting pregnant is an imperative. But for a committed spinster on the wrong side of 40, the road to motherhood is harder than she could have imagined. When she turns to her life long (married) friends Margo (Queenie van de Zandt) and Mikki (Catarina Hebbard) for support, she finds them equally embattled; Margo zealously guarding the door to her recently emptied nest, and Mikki frantically fighting her evil twin foes: Sagging and Drooping.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Timely, relevant and entertaining, Girl Clock! explores the choices a single woman faces when she's left it a bit too long to respond to the demands of her biological clock. Christine (Veronica Neave) doesn't even have a suitable partner, so she goes sperm shopping; she tries a variety of ways to find a male who will mate without staying around. She imagines this will be easy, since all men ever want is a wham, bam, thank you ma'am . . . isn't it? She discovers otherwise.

The establishment of the story elements takes us into related territories, including the other end of parenting, the part when the children are old enough to leave, as in the case of Margo (Queenie van de Zandt) who is enjoying newfound closeness with hubby Keith (Jamie Dunn, amusing) reluctant to let her kids back in the house. This is done with humour and love so it doesn't jar - but it does ring true.

Christine's other good friend Mikki (Catarina Hebbard) is having a different battle: her adversary is encroaching middle age, with its loss of sexual identity. Indeed, all identity. She feels invisible, and this despite heroic attempts by her loving man Dave (Stephen Tandy) to assure her that she is still the most desirable woman in his world.

The film becomes something of an adventure movie as Christine follows every path to pregnancy, including the IVF clinic, where she meets the single, charming and talented violin player she spotted some days earlier at a local shop, Paolo (Mirko Grillini, excellent).

It's from here that the film takes unexpected turns, saving us from a Hollywood template. The twists are achingly funny because they're grounded in reality - except perhaps for one brave scene that sets up the payoff. Jennifer Ussi's direction is sure footed and mostly astute and credible, the technicals are solid, while the original score and songs add to the accessibility of the film. It's a life affirming comedy, and to its credit it's based on some serious subjects, generating a complexity of emotional responses.

Veronica Neave is a standout as Christine, totally credible and likeable, making her natural drive to motherhood not so much selfish as fulfilling. Her conundrum is universally recognised in the West and is a valid subject for exploration, and the film will be embraced by women over 30; their menfolk will no doubt find it a useful insight into how and why women feel so much more threatened about getting older than men.

Review by Louise Keller:
Friendship, fertility and turning 40 are the themes of this fresh and funny, uplifting comedy that is perfect for that Girls' Night Out. The feature debut of writer director Jennifer Ussi, the film is a modest and unabashed crowd pleaser that follows the trials and tribulations of a forty-something single woman with obsessions. The issues of marriage, parenting and partners may not be new, but Ussi brings a different slant and a few hilarious surprises as we identify with the characters of this likeable film that looks at life, love and the impact of the biological clock.

From the start, when we meet Christine, Margo and Mikki reclining in crimson robes, wineglasses at hand, face masks set and pedicured toes wiggling, we know these girls are close and share their innermost secrets. Not that their situations are identical; far from it. Catarina Hebbard's Mikki feels as though she is invisible, as she obsesses about wrinkles, sagging flesh and her insecurity about ageing, despite her live-in boyfriend whose philosophy mirrors the sentiments in Billy Joel's song 'Just the Way You Are'. Queenie van de Zandt's free-spirited Margo has a busy life filled with spice and playful fun; she is obsessed about getting the teenage kids out of the house. But the spotlight turns on Veronica Neave's Christine, whose successful career as a photographer has morphed into an obsession about falling pregnant.

We can forgive some of the slight performances of smaller roles and there are some predictable set ups as Christine's obsession for fertility takes flight; in her quest for fitness, giving up smoking and getting lots of sex. Those scenes when she explores her options for falling pregnant border on the farcical but things hot up considerably when violin-playing, sexy, charming life-saving Paolo (Mirko Grillini, charismatic) comes onto the scene. That's when the film takes the unexpected fork in the road and soars. Be prepared to laugh till it hurts at this point.

Performances by the three central women are all terrific; I especially warmed to van de Zandt's Margo (that scene when she and hubby are making out when teenage son arrives home is especially memorable). Neave excels as Christine whose pathway to motherhood treads a fine line between desperation and pragmatism. Loic Valm's outstanding music score gives the film a real lift and as the clock finishes its revolution, there's a nicely subtle conclusion that adds irony to the mix.

Published July 13, 2011

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

GIRL CLOCK!: DVD (MA)
(Aust, 2010)

CAST: Veronica Neave, Queenie van de Zandt, Catarina Hebbard, Jamie Dunn, Adam Couper, Mirko Grillini, Carol Burns, Sean Dennehy, Stephen Tandy

PRODUCER: Jennifer Ussi

DIRECTOR: Jennifer Ussi

SCRIPT: Adam Couper, Jennifer Ussi

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Nicola Daley

EDITOR: Cheryl Potter, Kate James,

MUSIC: Loic Valmy (songs by Blair Joscelyn)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jessica Latham

RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: tba

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Tba

PRESENTATION: 16:9

SPECIAL FEATURES: .

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Antidote Films

DVD RELEASE: July 13, 2011







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