HATING ALISON ASHLEY: DVD
Erica 'Yuk' Yurken (Saskia Burmeister) is a melodramatic 14 year old living in lower class Barringa East, who believes she is destined for stardom. Her chaotic family - mum (Tracey Mann), her long term boyfriend Lennie (Richard Carter), and her three siblings - is less focused on her future. But in Miss Belmont's (Jean Kittson) class at school, Yuk feels she is the bright spark - until the arrival of miss perfect, Alison Ashley (Delta Goodrem). Alison is beautiful and rich and she's smart. After a failed attempt to befriend the new girl and Alison's unintentional stealing of Yuk's limelight, Yuk decides they must be rivals and embarks on a campaign against Alison. When the two girls are thrown together on the school's annual camp they begin to see each other in a different light.
Review by Louise Keller:
Alison Ashley epitomises perfection - she is the girl at school we all loved to hate because she appears to have everything - beauty, brains and talent. And when casting the adaptation of Robin Klein's novel Hating Alison Ashley, the filmmakers had no difficulty to find someone with all those qualities - Delta Goodrem. Goodrem alone is sure to draw an audience to this good-natured coming of age story about a young girl grappling with her life, her dysfunctional family and the new girl in town, who is stealing the attention she believes should rightfully be hers. It's no surprise that Goodrem, in her feature film debut, plays the part of the girl everyone wishes to be, and she does so, to perfection.
Targeted for those who enjoyed Looking for Alibrandi, Hating Alison Ashley is a sweet film with its heart firmly in the right place. The story explores friendship, rivalries, and how easy it is to wish you belonged to another family that was less embarrassing, more upmarket and well, just like the family of your fantasies. With its excellent score by award-winning Australian composer Cezary Skubisewski, it's an enjoyable film with an appealing sense of chaos and observations about human behaviour that rings true. My biggest disappointment is that I didn't fall in love with the film's central character. Director Geoff Bennett keeps us at arm's length from Saskia Burmeister's Erica Yurken, and it's this lack of a crucial connection (like the one we had with Pia Miranda's Josie Alibrandi) that limits the emotional investment we make in Yuk/Erk's ugly duckling.
Richard Carter gives a superb performance as Lenny, the truckie with a big heart and no pretentions, and I loved Jean Kittson's no-nonsense teacher with a scary hairdo, who reminded me of a teacher I once had. Craig McLachlan brings slapstick to the mix with his PE teacher who lets everyone walk all over him, and is a hoot. The best scenes are those involving Erica's family, who are so different from each other, yet care as only family can.
Hating Alison Ashley is a snapshot into that awkward time when we feel the whole world is against us, and we are desperately searching for our individual connection. It's an appealing encounter and one to which especially teenage girls will relate.
On DVD, there's a making of feature, a video clip, behind the scenes with Delta nad Saskia, interviews, photo gallery and audio commentary.
Published Septmeber 8, 2005
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HATING ALISON ASHLEY: DVD (PG)
CAST: Delta Goodrem, Saskia Burmeister, Rachael Karpani, Tracey Mann, Jean Kittson, Katie Fitchett and Craig McLachlan.
PRODUCER: John Brousek, Elizabeth Howatt-Jackman
DIRECTOR: Geoff Bennett
SCRIPT: Christine Madafferi (novel by Robin Klein)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steve Newman
MUSIC: Cezary Skubiszewski
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ralph Moser
RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hoyts
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 17, 2005
PRESENTATION: Widescreen 16 x 9
SPECIAL FEATURES: Video clip; behind the scenes with Delta and Saskia; making of; interviews; photo gallery; audio commentary
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
DVD RELEASE: September 7, 2005