Is any family truly happy? Or do we just tell ourselves lies to block out the unbearable truth about life? So asked Henrik Ibsen – always reliable for a biggie – in his 1884 play ‘The Wild Duck’. Ibsen’s story has been cleverly rewritten and updated here into a modern-day Aussie drama that’s beautifully acted, if a little overcooked and stagey.
Christian (Paul Schneider) is a rich mill owner’s son, in town for Dad’s wedding to his hot 31-year-old housekeeper. He bumps into an old pal, Oliver (Ewen Leslie), who lives in chaotic, shambling bliss with his wife and 15-year-old daughter. Christian discovers a secret that would explode Oliver’s life. Should he tell? Few films make you care about the characters like this one does.