Summer Coda

  • Year:2010
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Richard Gray
  • Cast:Alex Dimitriades, Cassandra Magrath, Nathan Phillips, Angus Sampson, Rachael Taylor, Jacki Weaver
  • Release Date:October 18, 2010
  • Distributor:Sharmill/Jump Street
  • Running time:108 minutes
  • Film Worth:$11.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

While the film is meandering and predictable, it’s beautifully shot and features convincing performances.

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Writer/director Richard Gray started work on this project in 2003, after finishing his film studies in Victoria. He was initially inspired by events surrounding his own parents' meeting, but later significantly expanded and altered their story. In 2005, he entered the Project Greenlight competition for first-time filmmakers, coming second. Although heartening, there was no prize money for the runner up, and it took another five years for his film to see a release.  

In Summer Coda, Heidi (Rachael Taylor), a talented young musician, returns to Australia after spending most of her life in the US, following her father's desertion of the family when she was a child. After hearing of his death, she is keen to learn more about her origins and the man that she barely remembers. Travelling on the cheap, Heidi is forced to busk for funds and then hitchhike her way to the funeral in rural Victoria. While doing so, she meets Michael (Alex Dimitriades), an orchardist, who offers her a lift. When the reunion with her step-family doesn't go well, Heidi seeks solace on Michael's farm, and is soon helping with the fruit picking, and frolicking in The Murray River with the itinerant workers. An attraction between Heidi and Michael is evident, but both have pasts which prevent them from moving quickly on this summer romance.

Unfortunately, Summer Coda is yet another of those sweet, charming Australian films that will probably vanish quickly from cinemas and be seen by only a handful of film goers. The story is appealing but somewhat predictable, and is far too slowly paced. Gray certainly has talent though, offering up convincing, well written dialogue and a palpable feeling of enthusiasm and passion. His film also looks and sounds great, thanks to the cinematography of Greg De Marigny, and a beautiful, violin-based score by local composer, Alies Sluiter.

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