Clubland (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/09/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

Enjoyable, emotionally engaging Australian drama with superb performances from Blethyn and an up-and-coming young cast.

What's it all about?
Brenda Blethyn plays Jean Dwight, a formerly famous English comedienne who's still chasing the big time on the Sydney entertainment scene, after emigrating to Australia 25 years previously and raising her two sons, 21-year-old, sexually inexperienced Tim (Khan Crittenden) and his disabled brother, Mark (Richard Wilson).

Over the years, Jean's controlling and selfish behaviour has driven away both her own husband (Frankie J Holden) and any girls who had previously shown an interest in Tim. However, when Tim meets and falls for Jill (Emma Booth), he has to finally learn to stand up to his mother if he wants his relationship to survive.

The Good
Blethyn is on terrific form as Jean, even if the character is extremely hard to like, and there's strong support from Holden and Wilson (whose character nabs most of the best lines). However, the film's real revelations are Khan Crittenden and the gorgeous Emma Booth – their performances are extremely sweet and their relationship is genuinely engaging.

The script is extremely good and should strike a chord with anyone who's ever experienced a similar parent / partner conflict. There's also a lot of humour in the film and director Cherie Nowlan adds some intriguing levels to the characters, such as the suggestion that Jill may be just as needy and controlling as Jean, in her own way.

The Bad
The film's main problem is that Jean is a deeply unsympathetic character and Nowlan never shows us the cracks that might make us warm to her. As a result, her eventual redemption doesn't convince and the supposedly emotional climax seems both hard to believe and a little bit forced.

Worth seeing?
In short, Clubland is an enjoyable, emotionally engaging drama that's worth seeing for the performances by Blethyn, Crittenden and Booth, not to mention Blethyn's climactic rendition of Nutbush City Limits.

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Content updated: 24/10/2017 08:35

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