Three Summers – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

October 27, 2017 by Roz Tarszisz
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Writer and director Ben Elton said recently that despite living in Australia for 30 years he is still regarded as a Pom.  While he’s not exactly a new chum, he does bring his British sense of irony and an ability to pinpoint the ridiculous in this very Australian film.

Set over three summers at a fictional music festival in West Australia – Westival – it’s campervans, tents and close communal living. When indigenous Jack (Kelton Pell) rocks up with his young dance troupe, jumps out of his van, spreads his arms and says “Welcome to my country”, he sets the tone.

This causes some eyerolling from Henry (Michael Caton), himself a British child migrant and leader of the Morris dancers.  Old hands know to get in early to get a good pozzy – true of camping and everything else in life – and by the third summer we have got to know quite a few of the, not always happy, campers.

It’s a charming slice of Aussie life, with some political points to be gently made. Whether it will reach the beloved status of that other vehicle which firmly placed Caton into our hearts, The Castle, remains to be seen, but it does highlight some important issues.

Queenie (Madga Szubanksi) the camp radio MC reminds listeners to “have a folking good time” and there is plenty of ongoing action to distract.  I wouldn’t mind seeing it again because I am sure I missed a few things.

The romance between dog washer/theremin musician Roland (Robert Sheehan) and fiddle playing folk chick Keevey (Rebecca Breeds) doesn’t completely work for me even though they are both very appealing but their interaction is essential to drive the story along.

The strong ensemble cast includes Deborah Mailman as an AA counsellor, Jacqueline McKenzie as a music school director and John Waters as Keevey’s father. Special mention for Kate Box as the security guard who has heard it all before.

Pell always brings a strong presence to the screen and this one is no exception. Szubanski’s Queenie, a woman with her finger almost on the pulse of the festival, gets a few of the best lines.

With an all Australian soundtrack, this charming home-grown comedy is a keeper. Elton strikes some perfect notes as he gets to the heart of being Aussie and human.

3.5/5 Released November 2nd   102 mins Rated M

Written and directed by Ben Elton

Stars Robert Sheehan, Rebecca Breeds, John Waters, Deborah Mailman, Kelton Pell, Jacqueline McKenzie, Magda Szubanksi, Michael Caton





One Response to “Three Summers – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz”
  1. Richard Alaba says:

    You are right in saying “Elton strikes some perfect notes as he gets to the heart of being Aussie and human.” I enjoyed this irreverent comic snapshot ofwho we are as a nation.

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