Directed by Matthew Saville
Written by Matthew Saville
This must be the first time in a long time that a locally produced film actually had a PR campaign behind it. Television, radio, the film-makers did all they could to advertise A Month Of Sundays to the citizens of the state it was made in, especially fellow Adelaidian Anthony LaPaglia, who was obviously very passionate about this new film, and did his best to encourage our populace to get out and support South Australian cinema. He would be the most familiar name to international audiences, I am guessing.
Real estate agent Frank Mollard (Anthony LaPaglia) is stuck, trying to find meaning in his life. Despite being a real estate agent he isn’t able to sell his own house, he isn’t able to disconnect from his ex-wife, and his teenage son is acting very much like a teenage son, making life more difficult for Frank, who is a good person that we get to know well. He is a typical Australian dealing with common problems that I’m sure many will relate to.
Not long into the film Frank receives a call from his mother. He talks with her normally, despite the fact she died the year previous. This proves to be an important part of the story, as this call is actually from an older lady named Sarah who has coincidentally dialled Frank’s number by accident; an older woman who reminds Frank of his own mother. Sarah is played by Julia Blake, who nails the role, unsurprisingly given her experience. With both actors at the top of their game, it doesn’t take long for these two characters to form a rather awkward friendship, as they become closer and share more of their feelings with each other. The chemistry they share is excellent .Needless to say, when Sarah’s son Damien arrives at his mother’s home and meets Frank, the awkwardness is not only apt, but brilliantly funny.
This is where the movie scores most of its points – it is bloody funny! Frank’s awkward nature makes it near impossible not to laugh at times, such as when he tries to connect with his son, or when he talks to his ex-wife. His deadpan delivery, often when talking with his boss, offers food for thought. What is he really thinking?
Of course his odd relationship with Sarah invites comedy too, as does his inept character. The funniest part of A Month Of Sundays though is John Clarke as Frank’s boss, and I knew this would be the case from the start. He is probably completely unknown outside Australia, but within Australia he is loved for his comic abilities; here he steals every scene he is in and it is hard not to laugh.
Divorce, relationships of all kinds, including family, death… It is the human condition that is at the core of A Month Of Sundays. Frank obviously regrets the relationship he had with his own mother, and add to that his inability to connect with his son, he finds comfort in his friendship with Sarah, no matter how bizarre it might seem.
I feel I also must give a shout out to my fellow blogger at CineMuse for highlighting this very good point:
“We have culturally fortified ourselves with a style of Ocker farce to shield us from knowing too much about what lurks within the Australian male.”
This is extremely true, and is also food for thought. We often hide behind our relaxed, laid-back attitude, and the film avoids this directly by focusing on a man with the opposite type of personality, a man with problems that will feel familiar to many.
Funny, extremely well-acted and beautifully shot in the familiar streets of my hometown, A Month Of Sundays is a simple movie that is serious at its heart, while retaining a fantastic sense of humour. For the sake of our film industry, I hope this movie attracts international attention. Director Matthew Saville’s last project was Felony, and with A Month Of Sundays, Saville is definitely moving in the right direction, presenting a film that improves on Felony in many regards.
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