- Director:John Duigan
- Cast:David Field, Andrew Hazzard, Nammi Le, Peter O'Brien
- Release Date:May 17, 2012
- Distributor:Spirited Films
- Running time:103 minutes
- Film Worth:$16.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Sidestepping a more extreme take on prostitution, this is a quietly impressive portrait of a young woman caught in a tragic situation.
The dim, shadowy world of prostitution is one usually portrayed to extremes in cinema, whether it's demonised as a hotbed of brutality and exploitation, used as a means of seamy titillation, or glossed over in ridiculously frivolous fashion, a la Pretty Woman. It's rare (if not exactly, um, refreshing) to see a film that normalises the world's oldest profession, which is exactly what the Australian drama, Careless Love, does. Though there are flashes of cruelty and corruption, and while sex work is never depicted as a particularly bright and affirming choice of employment, the characters involved in that world here are all sane, decent people. In an increasingly conservative cultural climate, that's a quietly daring stance, and it's only one of many fascinating elements of the latest film from writer/director, John Duigan, the man behind modern classics like The Year My Voice Broke and Flirting.
Beautiful, intelligent, self-assured Linh (a controlled turn from Nammi Le, who so impressed in 2006's low budget drama, Ra Choi) is a Vietnamese-Australian uni student who does escort work by night to help support her family, who have been struggling financially since her father lost his job. Battling to compartmentalise her life, Linh is further torn when she falls for two very different men - an enigmatic American businessman (the always underrated Peter O'Brien), and a sweet, decent fellow student (the engaging and likeable Andrew Hazzard) - and finds herself increasingly exposed emotionally.
Showcasing his trademark restraint and sensitivity, Duigan paints a low key but impressive personal portrait here, getting under the skin of a young woman who mistakenly and ultimately tragically believes that you can keep the various fragments of your life separate without them cutting into each other. Watching her balance them against the backdrop of Sydney's dangerously seductive after-hours world makes for a lyrical and moving experience.