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SOFT FRUIT

SYNOPSIS:
Overweight siblings Josie (Genevieve Lemon), Nadia (Sacha Horler), Vera (Alicia Talbot) and Bo (Russell Dykstra) come home to Port Kembla to nurse their terminally ill mother Patsy (Jeanie Drynan). Bo has been released on parole to spend time with his mother in her last weeks, but his father Vic (Linal Haft) cannot stand the sight of him and will not have him in the house. The three sisters are Florence Nightingales from hell, who squabble and compete on every level – from their crash diets to disagreements on how to nurse their mother. But Patsy isn’t interested in being nursed or organised. She dreams of flights of fancy and fun.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
"With all the idiosyncratic, painful, funny and recognisable revelations about derailed family life and the cinematic inventiveness of a Sweetie in combo with Radiance, Soft Fruit is a unique and uniquely entertaining film of serious passion, compassion - and death defying feats of humanistic humour.

Director Andreef and her cinematographer Baranyai have distilled Australian cinematic style and made it their own with some simple yet powerful ideas that serve the film’s main purpose – the exposition of a family through its relationships to each other. Each element, from the superb, careful casting to the spirited and wonderful soundtrack (music & sound) is crafted excellence adding - sometimes subliminally – to the film’s impact.

Defying all categories, Soft Fruit is a ripe, appetising movie. Performances are all outstanding and will probably earn (certainly deserve) accolades, come awards night. Jeanie Drynan’s central character as mum is palpably real, complex, lovable and so finely crafted as to make it seem effortless; character acting at its most sublime. But mum’s daughters are equal to the challenge, as is the extraordinary son. Soft Fruit is a perfect example of showing universal truths through the particular, and don’t believe anyone who tells you it’s a woman’s film. It’s a film for all of us – at least for those who have a mother or a father. Or both. Or siblings. Or feelings…."

Review by Louise Keller:
"Poignant, funny, offbeat and very moving, Soft Fruit is a delectable gem, eminently worthy of consumption. Christina Andreef's observant, cutting script and assured direction is complemented by superb performances, showcased by tight editing and a rich soundtrack, which like the whole film, is not always what you expect.

This is a story about family members who love and hate each other. They share obsessions such as weight loss, bear grudges and harbour grievances from baggage never discarded. They display intimate eccentricities that are not only overtly very funny, but honest, and very raw in their emotions. The central character Patsy - Jeanie Drynan is extraordinary in her best role ever - is the catalyst for bringing the family together. There are elements reminiscent of Radiance, yet Soft Fruit glows with the confidence of a unique and special film. Its humour is infectious, often off the wall and never in bad taste. The beach outing, when the wheelchair is liberated, and the morphine shared, is a special moment not to be forgotten.

But under the laughs, the jocular fights and bitterness, lies a deep profound love and need for each other. This is not the kind of love and need that is expressed in eloquent phrases or sonnets, but by things that are not said within the angst of day to day living. All the performances are excellent, with Russell Dykstra outstanding as Bo, and exuberant Sacha Horler, a real scene stealer. The use of music and expressive sounds (there is a whole scene that features the entire family snoring) is both surprising and stimulating.

Bitter-sweet, provocative and thoroughly entertaining, Soft Fruit is a delight, a marvellous new Australian film that breaks boundaries."

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0


JEANIE DRYNAN INTERVIEW

SOFT FRUIT
(AUS)

CAST: Jeanie Drynan, Linal Haft, Genevieve Lemon, Sacha Horler, Alicia Talbot, Russell Dykstra

DIRECTOR: Christina Andreef

PRODUCER: Helen Bowden

SCRIPT: Christina Andreef

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Laszlo Baranyai

EDITOR: Jane Moran

MUSIC: Antony Partos

SOUND DESIGNER: Sam Petty

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sarah Stollman

RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: May 24, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment







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