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THANK GOD HE MET LIZZIE

SYNOPSIS:
Guy (Richard Roxburgh) is looking for the ‘perfect’ woman without success, until he meets Lizzie (Cate Blanchett). The two fall in love and prepare to marry, planning an expensive family wedding. But on his wedding day, Guy is plagued by memories of his old girlfriend Jenny (Frances O’Connor), with whom he lived throughout his twenties. Jenny and Lizzie are totally different; Jenny is spontaneous and exuberant from a working class family, Lizzie is a stylish pragmatist, from a privileged background. The sentimental tunes and intensity of the wedding bring to Guy’s mind not his future, but memories of his past. And he realises that his beautiful new wife is virtually a complete stranger…

"The sentiments expressed in this romantic comedy make me think of the reflective Peggy Lee song, Is That All There Is. It’s that realisation that perhaps life doesn’t dish out what we wish for - or think we wish for. But as we buckle up for this film’s emotional journey, it is an uplifting experience. Cherie Nowlan’s debut film is fresh, insightful, funny and charming. Alexandra Long’s script is witty and keenly observant; the lead performances strong, with firmly established characters. Richard Roxburgh’s idealistic Guy is the epitome of the romantic, sensitive new-age guy; Cate Blanchett’s Lizzie is sophisticated, glamorous, successful - everything he thinks he wants. But it’s not until the wedding, that we see (in flashback) a different side of Guy - brought to life by the vivacious Jenny (Frances O’Connor). O’Connor is wonderful as Jenny, stealing the film with her earthy spontaneity, and unpredictable, off-beat energy and sense of fun. We fall in love with Jenny through Guy’s eyes. They are total opposites: he so serious, she seriously into fun. Like a seesaw, they balance each other. It’s hell, but it’s wonderful. Who can forget Guy and Jenny decorating the Christmas tree - stark naked, except for Jenny’s reindeer horns? Guy’s realistic appraisal of his happiness is reached in a most satisfying way, through the superficial environment of his wedding, with all its incidental characters and ceremony. The acceptance of reality, and what we can realistically expect is something that hits us all - Thank God He Met Lizzie describes that emotion perfectly."
Louise Keller

"I (mostly) agree with Louise. In fact, it’s a rather bitter pill, sweetened only by the warmth of true love in all its mayhem. It is also made palatable by its lack of sentiment, the lack of schmaltz. True to its premise throughout, for me the film falters only slightly, in the realisation of two characters: Lizzie and her mum are drawn too hard – or too heavy handedly. We are too aware of the points being made about them. That aside, the film is compelling viewing for any adult who values relationships, and a terrific showcase for Australian filmmaking prowess, from the brilliant opening credits to the cinematography, the editing, the music, the sound and the production design. And the nicely ironic title."
Andrew L. Urban

"When it comes to comedy, Australian cinema’s greatest strength is its ability to offer a black view of the world, featuring exaggerated characters who fit so snugly into the Australian landscape. This is the reason why the likes of Muriel’s Wedding, Crocodile Dundee, Priscilla and The Castle have made such inroads into our cinematic psyche. Thank God He Met Lizzie is a film full of its own archaic contradictions, and only works when the back story, dealing with Guy’s youthful past, is being developed. It’s ironic that the film’s weakest element, a wedding sequence that is lifeless, generated an AFI Award for participant Cate Blanchett, who has little to do and does it with a lifeless nonchalance, yet Frances O’Connor, who shimmers and shines every second she’s on screen, was passed over. But then, awards never define the true strength of a film, after all. Lizzie is not a film that has coherence stamped all over it, but in its attempt to present us with a romantic comedy that re-defines the genre, turning Guy’s predicament into a moral tragedy, it’s a film that ultimately emerges as an intelligently conceived tale with some of the pieces missing. Having said that, it’s a film worth seeing for its audacity and the illuminating presence of Frances O’Connor. Sexy vixen one minute in Kiss or Kill, and earthy romantic the next. Roxburgh also has his moments, but comes off better during the rollercoaster relationship endured between him and O’Connor. These sequences alone allows us a rare insight into a real relationship, and the characterisation here is superbly delineated. There is certainly genuine talent on the parts of director Cherie Nowlan and writer Alexandra Long, and with their sardonic view of an old-familiar theme, they almost got it right."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

FRANCES O'CONNOR INTERVIEW

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THANK GOD HE MET LIZZIE (MA)
(Aus)

CAST: Richard Roxburgh, Cate Blanchett, Frances O’Connor

PRODUCER: Jonathan Shteinman

DIRECTOR: Cherie Nowlan

SCRIPT: Alexandra Long

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Kathryn Milliss

EDITOR: Suresh Ayyar

MUSIC: Martin Armiger

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Clarrissa Patterson

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: REP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 20, 1997







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