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The Sum Of Us

The Sum Of Us image
Parent Issue
Month
April
Year
1995
Copyright
Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held By
Agenda Publications
OCR Text

Hhere simply aren 't enough superlatives in the language to describe this Australian film. Well received at festivals at home and abroad, TheSumqfUs is a powerful family story about Harry Mitchell {Breaker Morant's Jack Thompson) and his 22-year-old son Jeff (Romper Stomper's Russell Crowe), two ordinary blokes looking for love. Trouble is, Jeff is timid in these matters; Harry, despite his own outgoing heterosexuality, is accepting of his son's homosexual - ity - sometimes comically so. Adapted by David Stevens from his award -winning off-Broadway play, the film hasn't made a clean break from the stage; at times, Jeff or Harry turns to and addresses the audience. But the technique moves plot deveiopment along and makes the characters endearing, a bit like a confïdant affectionately tattling on another's idiosyncracies. When the directing, screen-writing and acting are added up, The Sum of Us is Forrest Gump -level good. However, audience response is likely to be limited by the film's "kiss of death" - scènes in which gay men are portrayed not as AIDS victims but as lovers kissing, involved in foreplay and searching for a fulfïlling existence. As Jeff tells his dad, "1 don't want to live in a world that begins and ends with my beinggay." Also, Harry's mother (Jeffs grandmother) was involved with another woman for 40 years; the flashback scènes portraylng both men's memories of her are some of the film's strongest scènes. It's groundbreaking to see elderly persons as lovers - "How do you teil someone 'thanks for 40 years of love?'" Harry asks when the two women are forced to part forever - and during those sequences the audience sees and, for several agonizing moments, feels the pain of aging. Nonetheless, like Forrest Gump (also a marketing challenge) before it, The Sum qfUs will leave its moviegoers (of all ages) with the euphoria that comes from a rollercoaster ride of tears and laughter. The film isn't about homosexual love, but simply about love and those who need it: straight people, gay people, young people and even people with liver spots. - by Paula Hess in "Box Office, " April, 1995.

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Subjects
Agenda
Old News