Get us in your inbox


  • Film

Time Out says

If there’s one element you must try to include in a heartfelt comedy-drama which chooses to champion on-screen relationships over narrative, it’s an endearing central character. First-time Australian director Cherie Nowlan would have done well to remember this with ‘Clubland’. Jean Dwight (Brenda Blethyn) is an ageing, cockney comedienne on the Sydney club circuit. When she’s not performing her phallocentric stand-up routine, she likes nothing more than to meddle in the lives of her long-suffering sons. She is perhaps the most overbearing, self-obsessed and irritating matriarchal big screen figure since Norman Bates’ mum in ‘Psycho’.

The part was written specifically for Blethyn, who does her best to depict Jean’s transition from control freakery to compassion, but she can’t seem to avoid falling back into stereotype. Witty performances from Khan Chitterden and Richard Wilson as the two sons – sexually terrified Tim and mentally disabled Mark – provide a few highs, but there’s just no escaping Jean. You end up having to ask yourself, if this woman’s own family can’t stand her, why would anyone pay good money to spend an hour-and-a-half with her in the cinema? Rebecca Davies

Written by Rebecca Davies

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 21 September 2007
  • Duration:105 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Cherie Nowlan
  • Screenwriter:Keith Thompson
  • Cast:
    • Brenda Blethyn
    • Richard Wilson
    • Emma Booth
    • Katie Wall
    • Khan Chittenden
    • Philip Quast
    • Rebecca Gibney
    • Frankie J Holden
You may also like
You may also like