Beautiful Kate (15)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Jul 27 2010This Australian Outback drama about past tragedies and buried secrets in one family relies on so many flashbacks that you end feeling as if you’re flipping between two films. It’s a device that kills much of the emotional kick of a familiar, if not uninteresting, story of a prodigal son and difficult father that rises above the norm with some bold ideas about brother-sister relations, strong acting and lyrical photography.
In the present, troubled middle-aged writer Ned (Ben Mendelsohn) arrives back at his family’s farm after his sister Sally (Rachel Griffiths) tells him that his father, Bruce (Bryan Brown), is dying and she needs his help to care for this unhappy man’s man who brought up his kids with a rod of iron. When he arrives, Ned has a new girlfriend, Toni (Maeve Dermody), in tow, who we realise is one of a long line of girls with whom Ned has failed to build a future. It’s when Ned decides to pen some memoirs – another awkward device – that we learn more about his relationship with his sister Kate (Sophie Lowe), who, like his older brother Cliff (Josh McFarlane) died many years ago in odd circumstances.
The first feature to be written and directed by British actress Rachel Ward, ‘Beautiful Kate’ has many strengths. Its ample hazy flashbacks and landscape shots look ravishing, but the more we learn about this family, the less interesting they become, and the need to tie up loose ends with unconvincing plot details neuters much of the film’s mystery by the end.
Author: Dave Calhoun