HEARTBREAK KID, THE: DVD
Nick Polides (Alex Dimitriades) is a rebellious young teen more interested in starring on the soccer field than he is in applying himself academically. When his school is given the opportunity to enter a competition, Nick's teacher Christina Papadopoulos (Claudia Karvan) volunteers to coach the inexperienced side with the help of Nick's father George (Nick Lathouris). But the teacher/student relationship soon develops into a love affair and Christina must decide if her life with Nick is more important than ending her engagement to her domineering fiancé Dimitri (Steve Bastoni) and breaking her parents' hearts.
Review by Craig Miller:
Films about the complexities and dangers of student/teacher relationships seem to be as common as the real life news broadcasts depicting the same affairs. This 1993 Aussie offering featuring a couple of young leads in Claudia Karvan and Alex Dimitriades may not be one of the best entries into the genre, but what it does do relatively well is highlight the harsh realities behind these questionable "relationships" and force the messy social implications into the light.
Based on a play by Richard Barrett, The Heartbreak Kid is a traditional coming-of-age flick - a younger man, a high school kid in this case, enters into a torrid affair with his slightly older, more mature teacher - and it's this clichéd story that director Michael Jenkins uses to enter into a complex world of love, betrayal and family/social values.
There are no points here for originality (ok, so it's set in a suburban, multi-cultural Victorian high school, but that hardly seems like a big deal these days) but there are a few for subject matter. Much of the focus of the film is not on detailing accounts of the film's key relationship between Nick and Christina (there are still plenty of "character- defining" roller-blading scenes, sex on bench top moments and lustful gazes across the classroom shots), but rather on how their relationship affects their relationships with others.
Dimitriades's Nick is a nicely layered character with his tough, rebellious nature played off well against his smoother, kind-hearted side - he cares for his younger sister, while his father is working, but is constantly scrapping at school against school yard oppression - and he plays it well, youthfulness and inexperience aside. Claudia Karvan as Christina is also fine and, funnily enough, has the opposite role, finding herself striking out against her overbearing family and controlling fiancé at home and nurtured more through her relationship with Nick at school.
The ending is underwhelming and unsatisfying, safe to the point of frustration. Even though it's difficult to convincingly conclude a film about such a touchy social issue, Jenkins and Co. should have been more daring. But I guess that's what this type of movie has to try and say: You can fall in love with just about anyone, sometimes it'll be great, sometimes it's not going to work out and sometimes, by law, it just has to wait.
Published June 23, 2005
Email this article
HEARTBREAK KID, THE: DVD (M)
CAST: Claudia Karvan, Alex Dimitriades, Steve Bastoni, William McInnes, Nick Lathouris, Scott Major
DIRECTOR: Michael Jenkins
SCRIPT: Robert Barrett & Michael Jenkins
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
PRESENTATION: 1.78:1 widescreen 16:9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 & 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: Filmographies; Short film: Country Comfort
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: April 7, 2005